Archive for August 19th, 2011

I was known as a “sensitive child”. The reason I know that is because whenever my feelings were hurt, I very frequently was told “You are just too sensitive.” And my feelings seemed to be hurt frequently. This seems odd to me because as a middle child, I tried to stay out of the limelight and balance family dynamics by being “the good girl.” My brothers were the risktakers.

Be that as it may, as I grew up, this sensitivity seemed to grow with me. It extended out to others and I lived somewhat cautiously, trying to gain control of the scenarios of my life by “fitting-in”, changing camolian style to fit the occasion, agreeing with or just trying to disappear on the sidelines.

That’s also strange because I was somewhat of an extrovert — actually a shy extrovert. I was always measuring myself in terms of others, and inspite of being a tall girl “for my age”, I always came up short on my own rulerstick.

All through life, this became a learning process for me as I came to stand on my own. I am reviewing Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” now because they hold a lot of truth for me and repetition is the way I learn. So today, I am taking notes on his Second Agreement:

Don’t take anything personally. He tells us not to take anything that happens around us personally. This really isn’t about giving up responsibility about our actions, just an attitude of being in the world.

If you slip up and take an insult aimed your way personally, it is because you have some belief in the insult about yourself. As soon as you agree, you are trapped in conflict.  Nothing other people do is because of you; it is because of them.

When we take something personally, we make the assumption they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on them.  Others are going to have their own opinion of me according to their own belief systems, so nothing they think about me is really about me, it is about them.

So, herein, lies the challenge. Even compliments they give to me are about them. They may truly value some quality in me or something I did, but the value they hold is about themselves. So now, equal sides of the coin — maybe equilibrium — insults and praise may pass through me without grabbing hold of it — or becoming sensitive or even big-headed.

Don’t take anything personally because by taking something personally, you set yourself up to suffer for nothing. The key is in trusting yourself in your own self-knowledge and believe only what you know to be true for yourself.

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you agree to take nothing personally. Perhaps it is the same freedom Jesus spoke of in the Bible, “…and the Truth shall set you free.”

As you make a habit of taking nothing personally and practice this faithfully, we don’t need to place our trust in what others do and say. We only need to trust ourselves to make responsible choices.  You can say “yes”, or you can say “no” — whatever you choose — without guilt or self-judgment. You can choose to follow your heart, being harmful to no one.

SOURCE:  “The Four Agreements” – A Toltec Wisdom Book, Don Miguel Ruiz, Amber-Allen Publishing Company

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