“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.”
~ Don Miguel Ruiz
During my entire life, I’ve put too much emphasis on what other people think of me, or how they react to what I’ve said or done.
It took me several years, but I finally got to the point where I actually think before I speak. Blurting out the first thing I thought of often led to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. It also meant no small amount of guilt, and sometimes resentment on my part, when someone was offended by something I said, which in my mind, was innocent.
Like many people, I have dabbled in ‘self-help’ books. I don’t believe I have yet to finish a single one, but have taken a few principles away from each.
The idea of thinking before I speak is one, and the concept of not taking anything personally is another… albeit more difficult to implement.
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, he teaches that how people react to you is their responsibility, and in tandem with that is how we react to other people is all on us.
In my old age, I’ve become very cynical. It’s difficult for me to take anything at face value. There have been many occasions when a harmless comment has left me fuming for days, all because I took offense, considered it a backhanded compliment.
Why do I do that? Why should I care? It’s one thing if someone does or says something that is obviously hateful. That’s what the delete option is for, or maniacal laughter. But, why read something sinister into an innocuous statement, an inflection in a voice, or random gesture or facial tic?
I need less cynicism and more peace in my life.
- I won’t let your negative words affect me, and I won’t fabricate negative implications where there are none
- If you’re no longer a part of my life, it’s your loss and not mine
- Don’t lament about a lack of friends to me if you reject my efforts to connect with you
- Your troubles are not my doing, you can’t make them my problems to solve
- I will not get drawn into your continuing drama when you have the power to change it
- You are entitled to your opinion, as am I, I’m not arguing with you
- It’s your life to live it as you see fit, I am not judging you if I choose to live differently
- I will support you and encourage you, but I won’t enable you
- I’m not perfect, nor claim to be, but you don’t have all the right answers either
- I wish you only peace, but I won’t allow you to disrupt mine