Thought of the Week: Don’t Take Things Personally

posted in: Personal Development | 0

This is the second of Don Miguel Ruiz’s the four agreements, and for me it is probably the most challenging. Don’t take things personally.
There is a tendency for people to take everything that is said to them personally. Even if something said isn’t necessarily directed at you personally, perhaps your mind will create a mini-drama that implores you take what was said personally. It happens all the time in social interactions.
It is important to remember that not everything said to you or directed toward you is meant for you specifically. You have the choice of not taking to heart what other people say to you. If you want to introduce drama and emotional heartache in your life than you will take things personally. If you don’t want unnecessary drama than you won’t take things personally.
Other people are going to have differing opinions. They are going to cheer for different sports teams, follow different religions, and carry varied ethical and moral codes than you. You don’t have to agree with what everyone believes in, but you also don’t have to personalize these differences.
Even if someone insults you to your face and calls you an idiot or stupid you have the choice of not taking it personally. Do you really believe you are an idiot or stupid? Probably not. So why give the other person the satisfaction of reacting to it and taking it personally? It is her opinion, nothing else. There is no need for you to give any more thought or action to the insult.
It often seems this is most difficult when you are around loved ones. It is much easier to take things personally from the people we love the most. I notice my mind attempting to stir up drama every time my girlfriend and I have a disagreement. I have to take a moment to question if I really need to be getting upset about her opinion. 99% of the time I don’t. Then I am able to retrace a different path around drama and arguing. It feels much better to not take things personally because personalizing things can be emotionally destructive.

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