Not Taking Everything Too Personally


Continuing down the path of playing catch up with my 2017 Reading Challenge, I switched up my earlier choice for my second book to finish in April from The Cleansweep Conspiracy by Chuck Waldron (which is a self published book) to The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (which is an award-winning book). It was a book that I had meant to read for the longest but never did; and for the sake of expediency on getting to my two reading choices for May so that I don’t fall further behind, I started reading it last week.

None of the ideas presented in it is new information to the point of shock. Instead, Ruiz takes approachable and almost common sense lessons we’ve been aware of since grade school and modernizes them for everyday situations in our lives. His personal philosophy on how to navigate through interpersonal situations hinges on four principles or ‘agreements’ with ourselves:

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

Today’s post (part of my Monday Morning Musings thread) highlights the second one; and I think it’s a very important one that I continue to remind myself of in order to navigate through my day-to-day.

Bottom line, we’re all navigating this planet shouldering different sets of expectations, baggage, and responsibilities. Should I make a judgement on who you are and what your worth is to me based on just what I ‘see?’ Of course not. I see the tip of the iceberg but below the water could be hundreds of miles of depth. We never truly know what someone else is dealing with until we’re provided with context by them; and even then we’re under the pretense that they aren’t holding anything back.

I sound pretty close to the third agreement on assumptions but really I write all that above to bring home the point of why we shouldn’t take other people’s actions and words too personally.

“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”

While I won’t say not to take ANYTHING personally because we should still be accountable for our actions and how they impact the ones we care about, fretting over the actions of others outside of that context to me seems counterintuitive. Are you living for yourself or for the opinions of others? In the rule of ten, three people will love you, three people will hate you, and four people will simply not care. Most people would worry about those that hate them and feed off those that love you. This is just as dangerous to me. Instead, keep your head down and focus on what you need to do and press forward. Chasing approval is as hopeless a quest as seeking guidance from those who don’t like you.

People’s words will affect you, especially depending on who they’re coming from. But instead of being mired down in the public opinion, take the time to reaffirm the path you’re going down. Is it something that YOU are doing for YOU? If so, then continue. Not everyone is meant to understand your trajectory and that’s just fine. In this race that we’re all running, we’re all moving at different paces in different lanes.

Are you going to trip yourself up paying more attention to what the other runners are doing instead of concentrating on your path?

Author: Mr. Nifty

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