Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Don't Take Anything Personally.

Have you read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz? If not, I recommend it. I read it awhile ago, but I was thinking about the agreements today and reminding myself to keep practicing them. Here they are: 

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. 

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. 

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. 

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” 

I’ve written before about the third agreement; when I talk about taking the time to consider the intentions of others, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m talking about not making assumptions, because we never know what’s really going on with another person unless we look at their face and ask them with words. But what about that second one? Let's look at "Taking Nothing Personally"? That’s a hard one. 

This is a thing many of us struggle with. Some people are just more hardwired than others to take things personally. I think it’s merely an aspect of our temperaments, that some of us are simply more or less sensitive to the actions and moods of others. If you happen to be a person who struggles not to take things personally, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are self-centered or that you think you’re the center of the universe. It just means things feel really real and visceral to you, and that you are easily impacted by others around you. 

So, do your best to work on it and don’t beat yourself up over it. You just have to work harder to follow this Agreement. I have to admit, I kind of admire those people who just let everything roll off their backs. Some people seem to be innately inclined to follow this Agreement. Good for them! 

For the rest of us, we have to work on this. One thing that is really hard if you’re someone who struggles with personalizing things, is being okay with ambiguity and with not really knowing what’s going on with someone you care about. And more importantly, even when we are not okay with it, not letting it immobilize us. It is true that things others do very rarely have anything to do with us, but it often doesn't feel that way, and so we decide that how we feel is how it is. 

 We have all had people sort of just disappear from our lives without warning or explanation, and that is a terrible feeling.  Personally, I don't mind things ending or changing- as things do- when I have a clear understanding of why it happened and if I am allowed the corresponding sense of closure. But when we love someone well and they leave us, whether in a friendship or a Relationship, without telling us why or what happened, we feel blindsided and confused. In other words, we take it personally. Or if somebody doesn’t love us the way we think they should, we take it personally. 

But how about if instead of making it about what you’re doing wrong and what’s wrong with you, you could just understand that for whatever reason, that person just doesn't have the capacity to be in your life right now. Or they simply can’t love you right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with you. That way you don’t have to take it personally. You can let it go. It doesn’t have to hurt you. 

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