Graffiti Wisdom: Peace, I’m Out!

“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

9 thoughts on “Graffiti Wisdom: Peace, I’m Out!

  1. Hello! I haven’t been here before, but I see you posting on many blogs I visit and thought I’d stop by. I am so glad I did. This was an excellent post for anytime and happened to be something I was pondering recently. Thanks! I am sure I’ll be back.


  2. This is such a cool pic, love it! where was this? I loved the four agreements, made so much sense to me. I feel what you are saying. I feel the same way. it’s like, take it or leave it, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out 🙂

    “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.”


  3. Love it. I was reading an article last night about how positive outlooks and focusing on being happy helps in so many ways – from health to your body’s ability to heal, etc. I’m focusing on letting go now 🙂 My mom’s comment of “Well, it’s *your* choice” implying that I’m making poor choices in how to spend my time (specially referring to helping a friend). Why, yes, it is my choice, and I’m good with it. 🙂


  4. I kind of love and agree with that quote. Similarly, my Buddhist guru teaches that humans in general are suffering, just trying to be happy. It’s so easy to let things go — forgive others and yourself — when you put that at the front of your heart and mind. 31 years of internal chaos and it took four seconds for my guru to teach that single most important lesson.


  5. YES!

    Isn’t it funny how self-help books seem to be the easiest ones to set aside, unfinished? That’s gotta mean something.

    Anyway, I’m all for No Drama. It’s really hard to live life for other people: you have to live your best life (thanks Oprah) for YOURSELF.


  6. Don Miguel Ruiz sounds like a wise man. I have the same problem sometimes. I see it as giving away control to someone else, and I have fought to change that over the years. I taught my kids (especially my daughter – is this a female tendency, do you suppose?) that no one can do anything to us with their words or reactions that we don’t allow them to do. We are responsible for our own emotional responses.

    Taking that responsibility and owning it is easier to said than do. I’m still allowing myself to be hurt by others behavior. But I fight against it. Bottom line? I guess it’s the old Golden Rule. Be considerate of others feelings. And if they don’t reciprocate with consideration, then it says more about them that it does about me. Your list of affirmations should serve you well to bring more peace and less cynicism into your life.

    All this being said, though, if it involves your family, it’s a whole other ballgame.


  7. Very good advice. Do you want to come talk to my junior software team about not taking things personally? I’ve got 20 some odd years of critique behind my work, so I’ve developed a thick skin; when someone says they don’t like how I solved a problem, I don’t take it personally, I go back to the drawing board to tackle it again. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget how upsetting it was to have my work picked apart when I was 21. I am trying to be better about not assuming everyone feels the same way about critiques!


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