For the past few days I have been meditating on the following quote: “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.” – THE FOUR AGREEMENTS – Don Miguel Ruiz
The last part of that parallels another quote that I often use: “I am beneath or above no one. When I am independent of the good or bad opinion of others, I stand strong in my own divine power.”
So why the focus on these quotes lately? Well, I’ve been giving more thought to the notion that we have more power over our circumstances than most of us acknowledge. Within that, we have power over our moods, interpersonal relationships, etc. So, more likely than not, if someone is “driving you crazy,” “stressing you the hell out” or “tripping” in general it probably because you have given them the power to.
So, back to the quote we go… “don’t take anything personally.” I will be the first to offer a disclosure here. I don’t buy this one hook, line, and sinker. Especially… “Nothing others do is because of you” but I do recognize that my disagreement is in the nuances. Here’s the thing that I know is true: most of the time people are reacting more to what is in their own head than to the particulars of the situation at hand. The woman who wants to “fight” you for a parking spot in the grocery store lot just got off of the phone with a loved one or close friend and feels in some way that they were taking advantage of her. She wants the fight. You become the unfortunate victim, but it’s not about you. Her fight is with the person who was on the other end of the phone.
Sometimes people have a lot going on in their lives all at once. They are overwhelmed, overburdened and stressed. They may lash out , but it is not aimed at you. They are lashing out at life. So I have been spending time on it because I have a more than basic agreement with the final tenant. If we understand that what is going on with another is more about that person than us, then we don’t react to it. We don’t stress over “I don’t know what she was trying to prove. Why is he always doing this to me? I’m sick of this sh*t.” We understand that they are shaped by their own perceptions of reality. We accept it and move on.
Now, here are the nuances. This DOES NOT mean that we allow others to treat us any old kind of way. We have standards on what we allow others to “do” to us. But within that framework, we save ourselves the mental duress/needless suffering if we make the basic choice. We can either choose to help the person along without internalizing their problems or allow a little space for them to take care of it themselves and then get back to us. In either case, we recognize that it is not about us, we don’t take it personally, and thus we are able to continue to love them with no stress on us.
My struggle with this concept, which I definitely know I need to incorporate more, is how to walk the fine line of the subtle nuance between don’t take it personally and I don’t care. I have to learn how to save myself the mental anguish but continue to live in love. If you have mastered this concept I would love to hear how you did it.
Spread love…peace and blessings.