Part 2-Don’t Take Anything Personally
If you’re just making your way to this Four Agreements segment, you can view the first agreement,Part 1- Be Impeccable With Your Words, by clicking here!
In part 1, I gave a synopsis of the entirety of the book and then dove into what it means to be impeccable with your words. Before Don Miguel Ruiz plunged into the four agreements we should make to ourselves, he discussed how we are domesticated beings! I’m going to briefly talk about what he meant by this as it is important to this second agreement, Don’t Take Anything Personally.
Don Miguel Ruiz says that everything we see and hear is a dream…yes, you in this moment right now is a dream! Society as we know it as an outside dream that was formed by humans, and as we are children, they hook our attention and present to us the rules of this outside dream. Don discusses how the outside dream teaches us what to believe, all the way down to the language we speak.
“It was not your choice to speak English. You didn’t choose your religion or your moral values — they were already there before you were born. We never had the opportunity to choose what to believe or what not to believe. We never chose even the smallest of these agreements. We didn’t even choose our own name. As children, we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our beliefs, but we agreed with the information that was passed to us from the dream of the planet via other humans.”
-Don Miguel Ruiz
The best way to describe our domestication is how Don did, he compares our domestication as children to how we domesticate a dog. We were trained essentially. Punished for certain things we did and rewarded for others, and eventually we learn this concept of “right” and “wrong” and start to strive to act in a way that reaps reward instead of punishment. However, the catch is, what we learned as right and wrong is rooted in others beliefs…our parents, teachers, siblings, anyone who had the opportunity to punish or reward us. The foundation of our morals were pretty much instilled in us by others and we eventually get to an age or stage in our life where we develop the ability of choice in morals. Where we have the option to rebel from our domestication and construct our own agreements to how we should live or accept the agreements we learned as children. Now that there’s some understanding of our domestication, let’s get into part two, agreement two- Don’t Take Anything Personally.
I know Don says the first agreement is the most important, however for me, this one has been the most impactful to my life. It has literally reshaped my way of thinking and how I navigate through life. It helped me reminisce on the bad that was done to me in the past and become at peace with those situations, and it has taught me grace. Don calls taking things personally personal importance, and explains how it is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about us.
“During the period of our education, or our domestication, we learn to take everything personally. We think we are responsible for everything. Me, me, me, always me!”
-Don Miguel Ruiz
When we were younger, we were trained to believe that everything that happened to us was a result of something we did or said. As in, if we were yelled at, whooped, punished and so forth it was because we were doing or saying something we shouldn’t have or simply we did something that someone else believed was wrong and as a result the negative outcome was our consequence. As much as we try to break away from our domestication, it’s so deep rooted and ingrained in us that it’s subconsciously hard to break away from. It’s important to know that this is not true. Nothing other people do is because of you. A person’s reaction, outburst, retaliation, and so forth is solely because of them. Solely. Even if you cussed somebody out, called them all types of insults and they punch you, or “knock you out.” They didn’t hit you because of what you said, they hit you because they believed your words and took your anger as an attack to their character and felt an urge to react. They took it personally. It wasn’t your words that caused the punch, it was the insecurity that they’ve accepted that made them react. You may have made them aware of an insecurity, but you didn’t grab their fist and put it to your face. You following? *and no I’m not saying go around cussing people out, I may be using these agreements in my personal life but you will encounter someone who is not and who will drag you lmao*
“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
When someone calls you out your name, physically hurts you, or whatever it is that can be done that negatively affects you, it’s not because of who you are..it’s because of who they are. They can be intimidated by the person you are becoming, they can be going through personal situations that are weighing on them heavily emotionally and mentally, to be honest it can be a million things happening in their own reality and you got the short end of the stick and became the outlet of their frustrations. It sucks, truly. But, when we learn that it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them we can live a life free of pointless suffering and anger.
You know I always use personal stories as reference, well sometime ago I was put into a situation that harmed me. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with anger and frustration, and I didn’t know how to calm myself down. I took it personally and reacted. Before I reacted, I felt myself wanting to react, so I tried to remove myself from the situation and due to circumstance it was impossible. I tried to do everything I could to remedy the situation and although it had nothing to do with me, I essentially failed myself in the moment by taking it personally. As a result, I suffered because I filled myself with anger. That very same night, I was sitting down, replaying everything that happened and accepted the fact I was simply a victim to someone who was going through something in their reality and that pain they were feeling was projected onto me. It was hard to accept this at first, because I felt extremely wronged. I had to really look deep into myself and ask why am I making this about me. Yes I was affected physically, but the persons action was pointless…what caused their action? That was what was really of upmost importance. As soon as I came to the realization that the cause of the action had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with who they were internally…the high tide of anger that initially overcame me turned into a low tide of understanding and I was at peace. It took me a few hours to get to this point after the situation, now I’m working on trying to make this my immediate reaction. Had understanding been my immediate response, the wave of anger I initially felt would have been non existent. It takes energy to be mad and react, I depleted myself emotionally for hours…and for what? There was no gain, just lost energy because I took the situation personally.
What I love so much about this agreement is that Don even talks about not taking what we hear in our head personally either. Do you ever have random negative thoughts about yourself? If not…well this is awkward. If you have, we have that in common.
“Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally. The mind has the ability to talk to itself, but it also has the ability to hear information that is available from other realms….We have a choice whether or not to believe the voices we hear within our own minds, just as we have a choice of what to believe and agree with in the dream of the planet.”
-Don Miguel Ruiz
So as I am reiterating to take nothing personally, I literally mean NOTHING, not even your internal voice sometimes. When you look at it this way, it makes it easier to not take things personally from others. If our mind has the ability to lie to us, why do we take what others do unto us as truth? Why do we take it personally?
Let me be VERY clear though, although you shouldn’t take things personally, do NOT accept disrespect. Please. Please. Please. Know your worth in all forms of relationships, both platonic and romantic. Know your boundaries, set them, and if people continuously break them, acknowledge that and act accordingly. Whether it’s ending said relationship or distancing yourself, priortize your peace first! You don’t have to take their actions personally, but if someone shows you who they are…believe them the first time.
I have this agreement, Don’t Take Anything Personally, as well as the other three agreements written on index cards and they are pinned on top of my desk so I see them everyday. I get it, these agreements are new to us. We have somewhat been aware of all of them or introduced to them at some point in our lives, but actively putting them into practice takes work. It takes work, but the benefits are massive to our growth and well-being. The next time you’re put into any situation, I hope you realize what was done onto you was not, and will never have anything to do with you. Why? Because that’s #WhatChiSaid! See you next time! Don’t forget to subscirbe below so you can be notified anytime a new post drops!
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life by Richard Carlson
Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
~These are just my thoughts and opinions
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~Comments and/or feedback always welcomed!