“Taking things personally makes you prey for predators. They can hook your attention with one little opinion, and feed you whatever poison they want.” ~ don Miguel Ruiz
My aunt first introduced me to The Four Agreements about 10 or so years ago. She referred to don Miguel as her teacher and mentor, and his teachings were life changing. While his teachings were life changing for me, they also mirrored many of my own personal beliefs that I already had, but had allowed our culture and society to bury. When I first read the Four Agreements, I was reminded that I placed too much emphasis on what others say to me and what others thought of me and my beliefs. At the time, I would still feel guilty for not believing what I was “supposed” to (i.e. not belonging and/or practicing any sort of organized religion, even though I did not believe in many of the basic principles). I would also base my self worth and feelings on how I was being treated in my relationships with family and my partner. Reading don Miguel’s words reminded me that I alone determine my self worth and how I feel and that I should not allow others to influence or poison me.
Strong words. Words that made me stronger and helped me get through some of the toughest times of my life, consequences that were brought on by some horrible choices that snowballed (that may be another story for later).
Unfortunately, in the past couple years I’ve been forgetting don Miguel’s words, and have been taking things too personally in my relationship–one of the hardest Agreements for me to remember and practice. I have no problem not taking things personally at work (I’m a customer service rep for a health insurance company, so that’s a necessity in my line of work), but not so in my personal life. As a result, seeing his quote today reminded me that I have to again get on the path, to remember that when hurtful things are said, it’s usually not directed at me personally (even if the words appear to be directed at me). My partner, for example, lives with chronic pain and illnesses and can be easily angered, and as a result she tends to say hurtful things whether she means to or not. When I take her hurtful remarks personally, then I let that affect me, and it affects my self esteem and confidence, and I cannot be or do my best. Granted, I can do a lot. But I cannot be my best and I cannot feel good about myself.
So, it’s time once again to read the Four Agreements and remind myself what I already know.