It’s Not All About You – and That’s a Good Thing

Blocking anger
Yesterday, a car cut in front of me in the parking lot. Then an editor rejected a story idea and my daughter didn’t like the salmon I cooked for dinner. Then, my friend, never, ever called back.

I didn’t blink when the car cut me off. Whatever. The rejection? Part of the job. The whining kid? Also part of the job. But, then, after all this, when my Amiga didn’t call, I began the slow strut toward “I-wonder-if-she’s-mad-at-me-ville.”

Seriously, people, I’m a grown up and yet every once-in-awhile I take it all too personally and get wrapped up in me-ness in a way that not only makes me feel bad but keeps at the edge of reality looking in.

Anytime we take anything personally, we are in big-time trouble. Seriously. It is so not about you – or me. My business – how I believe and behave in this life is up to me – it has nothing to do with what you think about me. What happens around me, outside of me is not my business. That is someone else doing what they do and it really doesn’t involve me.

Do Not Take it Personally

In Don Miguel Ruiz’s big, little book The Four Agreements, he lists this as his second agreement:

“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.”

Right.

The world is not out to get us. Nobody is against you. Nobody is doing anything to you. Ppeople are simply doing what they do. In fact, the external reality as we see it, isn’t really concerned with us at all.

So, when the little and big stuff comes down, like say, your husband hits you – that is not your fault. He is simply doing what he does. You didn’t cause it, nor should you feel guilty for then getting up and doing what you do and getting the heck out of there. He gets to choose his experience – that’s about him — and you get to choose yours – that’s about you. This doesn’t require self-judgment.

What Others Do Is None of Your Business

When we internalize things, when we make it all about us, then it becomes something we did. From this position the opinions and behaviors others hold about us become our problem rather than the responsibility of the person who was thinking of it in the first place. See how crazy this sounds? What others think and do is not our problem.

Instead, allow others to have their experience. Even if it catches you in the crossfire, their behavior isn’t a statement about you or your gifts or failings or capabilities. It is not an indictment of how good or bad you are. It is simply how they are choosing to behave.

When you know this and can live with this you are free to create your own experience, your own life. That is liberating.

But, boy can this be tough to do. Seriously. It’s tough not to personalize things. It’s something I’ve been working on for years, and it helps me so much when I remember and practice this principal. Good news is I’m getting better at it and you can too.

On Wednesday, I’ll share some of the things I do to keep my mind on my own business instead of worrying what others are up to.

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