7-2-23 Don’t Take Anything Personally

Don’t Take Anything Personally

“Don’t Take Anything Personally” comes from the book The Four Agreements by
don Miguel Ruiz. I highly recommend this short, powerful book. 

Agreement 1: Be Impeccable With Your Word. Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally.
Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions.  Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best.

When I first started recovery, I had a long way to go before I could think clearly and begin to trust myself. I had engaged in a lot of lies and manipulations for a long time. At first I
needed to NOT trust myself, look at all the terrible decisions I had made which had made a mess out of my life. I had to listen to people who had been where I had been and had learned to step out of selfishness and more into reality and a truthful engagement of life.

I can still deceive myself about what is true and how I permit outside influences to define me. Those influences—work, ego, relationships, money, resentments, fear, and joy—are important factors in life to deal with properly, but I am learning to define fewer things as good or bad. Who I am is now defined more by my connection with a higher plane of acceptance, spirituality, resiliency and a sense of welcoming a full and amazing life. As I grow and learn in recovery, and work on expanding my spiritual life to be ever present, I feel calmer, more worthy and connected. Finally, I feel connected to a reality that is rich and warm. I am waking up. 

“Over years, our mind has filled with beliefs that generate incessant thinking. In all that thinking we have many assumptions that we are not aware of. We even make the assumption that what we think is true. We imagine and assume what others think of us and how they will react. We also assume that the judgments and self-criticisms we have are true. We have learned to make so many assumptions that we aren’t aware of. These assumptions are not the truth. You can change your life by refusing to believe in lies. Start with the lies that limit the expression of your happiness, lies from yourself and from others. If you stop believing in lies, your life will be free of fear, drama, and conflict. This is the absolute truth, and I cannot put it more simply than that.” don Miguel Ruiz 

When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. (Being immune does not mean you do not hear or care what others say and do, but you do not let it ill-affect you.) You can have “positive emotional detachment.” I am not speaking about indifference, staying away from people, or stifling your emotions due to the fear that you might get hurt. Create a healthy space between yourself and your reactions. Realize others may be coming from a place of confusion or pain and projecting that to others. To not take it personally and to not respond in kind or to not withdraw, is to stop the chain-reaction of negativity. Imagine a space, your space, surrounded by a white picket fence, where no one enters unless you permit it. You see and hear everything, but it does not enter into your space unless you permit it.

If you get mad at me, I know you are dealing with yourself. I am the excuse for you to get mad. And you get mad because you are afraid, because you are dealing with fear. If you are not afraid, there is no way you will get mad at me. If I am not afraid I will not get angry. If I believe what someone else says about me, I am trusting someone else to tell me who I am, instead of relying on what I know to be true about myself.

As a teenager there could be tremendous pressure to worry about how you looked to others, what “they” thought of you, who said what to who about you or another. There was a lot of judging and posturing, all of which was limiting and superficial, though it seemed SO important.
We need to be aware of when we fall back into old behaviors that stunt and limit us.

Sometimes, we make a “bargain with the devil” and give a lot of ourselves away in order to
placate another person, be it a partner, a friend or co-worker. Taking things personally is often a by-product of this bargain. Do you think that there may be a high price to pay if you disagree or challenge them? Do you really need this person’s approval? Fear steps in and dictates how we should hide or strike back. A healthy sense of self responds appropriately and kindly.

We need to quiet our minds to hear our innate wisdom and strength, and the inate good sense we have. Trust yourself! To be a positive force takes courage and training. Begin being above but aware of the confusion in the world and your mind is a spiritual practice. Keep working with it!

As we work through our past that still seems to haunt us sometimes, the opinions we have about ourselves are not necessarily true. We must not take anything personally we did in the past. Did it happen, yes, but that is PAST tense. If we keep replaying that negativity, we are bringing the past into the now, and disrespecting our lives and the influence we have on others. We may be sensitive to what others think, or what we think they think, but we realize that our biggest critic is ourselves. We need to have the awareness of when we are limiting and demeaning ourselves. Stop taking the past personally. A person is not the act done in the past, it is only something that happened. You are not that same person. 

Keep a light touch with life, sunlight has no weight but it illuminates all things.It is important to consider what someone else says. If you can have a healthy boundary so you aren’t letting someone lay a guilt or fear trip on you, you can listen dispassionately and see if there is any truth to what they say or not. People are usually coming from their emotions, or their own story line when communicating. But if you can dismiss that which is not real, you may hear what they are really saying. You may get some useful information about yourself and them.

Look at the past as a movie you watch, not making it the false reality of now.The good parts can inspire us, the difficult parts we can accept, with a tinge of ouch, take care of them the best we can, learn from them, grow, and let them go. Resentment of the past and fear of the future are chains that keep us from the amazing peace and awareness of NOW. We stop ourselves when we begin to re-hash and mull over the past which pollutes our present. For those that have had trauma in their past it is essential to get the right help to move through it. Often a process that takes time and effort. But in the process of healing we can begin learning to have a better relationship with ourselves by not taking small things personally. As we MOVE ON we let the rest of our life unfold with curiosity and appreciation.
“It is our responsibilities, not ourselves, that we should take seriously.” Peter Ustinov.             

When I allow others to be who they are, to act how they do…when I do not try to fix them or permit resentment to overcome me, I feel and see a completely new and wonderful world.
Compassion and love are the foremost feelings that then guide me. I let the light shine.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.