The journey continues.. back to the streets. God brought me through too much for me to risk my future and fatherhood in a senseless volatile situation being disguised as platonic love and support. There are hundreds of black men in prison and jail – because they didn’t know when to walk away.
Oprah Winfrey’s favorite agreement from Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” is ‘Don’t take anything personally’
The second Agreement, the favorite of Oprah Winfrey, whose interview with Don Miguel Ruiz can be seen below, is born from the first agreement. In Number 2, we are invited not to take anything personally regardless of who has said it, the way it was said or indeed the explicit vileness of the message.
We all live in our own thoughts, our own dreams, our own sense of reality so nothing other People do is ever about you; it is because of themselves. And we always have the choice as to what we let in; easier said than done of course but through a regular practice of meditation for example we can exercise our ability to remain calm and process exactly what is being said and our potential response, if any.
“….don’t take it personally, because the truth is that the person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. That person tried to send you poison and if you take it personally, then you take that poison and it becomes yours” – Don Miguel Ruiz.
“Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.” – Don Miguel Ruiz.
You choose what to let in, it’s critically important to understand that a negative opinion expressed towards you is, more often than not, simply a projection. That person is taking unwanted emotions they dislike about themselves and trying to attribute them to you. By building your resilience to criticism you create a wall of immunity which is a powerful shield for your own equanimity.
Of course, not taking things personally is a hugely challenging task but, by bringing consciousness to what it is you’re about to react to, you can aim for a more dignified engagement. Remember, a simple slow breath can help build an important wedge between the initial stimulus and your response, giving you perspective. Understand that it is not about you. Always seek a growth opportunity in how you react. In doing so we can aim to live with more calm and compassion for ourselves and others.
“When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear and even your sadness will simply disappear if you don’t take things personally.” – Don Miguel Ruiz.