The Four Agreements Series:
Don’t Take Anything Personally
The First Agreement, Be Impeccable With Your Word, talks about the power of the word and how we should refrain from demeaning or insulting others. But what if we hear something we don’t like? We can immune ourselves by abiding to the second agreement which is 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.
Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds. Their point of view comes from all the programming they received during domestication.
You take [something] personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell.
There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.
Don’t take anything personally because if for anything it will make your life less stressful; no speculations and no insomnia because you try to interpret what he/she meant when he/she said so and so.
By not taking anything personally you immune yourself against the bad word and you become stronger. You know yourself and you know who you are more than anyone else.
I read this book six years ago and I learned a lot. I can say that I am, hopefully, abiding by this agreement since then. In the past six years, I took things personally twice. When you take something personally you try to defend yourself and sometimes you attack. Hence, I did say something I shouldn’t have said twice. The first time was during a conversation with a friend. I called him at midnight because I couldn’t sleep and I said “I am sorry.” The other time, I attacked someone’s comment when I should have answered in a more civilized way. I emailed him and also said “I am sorry.”
In my second week at the campus dining service, I was assigned to washing dishes. It was my first time washing dishes there. The work was overwhelming and I didn’t know the procedure so I asked the only other guy there, who is 6.5 tall and weigh no less than 250 lbs, to help me understand what I am suppose to do. He mumbled something but I was still not sure how to do the task. I asked him again, instead of explaining since this is my first time there and he knows that, he came to my section did what I am suppose to do in the most nervous way. He almost wanted to break the dishes, stacked them aggressively and his body gesture wanted to say “You are stupid. Don’t talk to me EVER.” I could have went to the manager and told her what happened. But I didn’t and I didn’t show this guy any reaction to his stupid behavior as if nothing happened. Apparently, this guy doesn’t like his job and he has issues in his life and with the manager. He wanted to use me as an excuse. After couple of hours, when he noticed that I didn’t go talk to the manager, he started a conversation with me; asking what is my name and where I am from. He didn’t apologized but I understood from his conversation that he was sorry.
Know that when someone snaps at you it is because he/she has issues and not because of you. Notice how unhappy people always have a problem with the people around them. Happy people value their life to spend it on offending this and that. Be a happy person by not taking anything personally!