14 Mar 2013

The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

“As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Why is it so hard to not take things personally? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that this week since I knew this would be the topic for the today’s newsletter. And of course, as lessons do, one appeared for me around this a few days ago.

I posted a blurb on the Dr. Anna Facebook page earlier in the week about the link between artificially sweetened drinks and depression. And the first comment from a reader was, “NO SHIT DR OZ.” My first reaction was a shamey feeling that someone would post this on my page…and that other people would see it. I didn’t have access to my computer to remove it right then.

Then I was pissed. “How dare someone do this to me?!’

And then I got to the place of “Oh, this isn’t about me.” I decided not to take it personally. And granted, this was easier to do because I have no idea who this person is. But, she’s clearly upset about something!

One of the realities of life is that people will be people. It would be nice if we had the ability to control what they do or say, but we don’t. Never will.

Sometimes people are rude and pushy and sometimes people are graceful and patient. Either way, there’s an opportunity to learn to not take things personally.

It’s Not About You…

We all like to believe that the world revolves around us and that everyone around us is thinking about us, observing us, etc. We assume that people really give a crap about what we are doing.

The truth is, they don’t. They’re more likely to be thinking about their own stuff and not giving you or me a second thought!

And the positive stuff people tell you…well, that’s not about you either, according to Don Miguel.

I am curious to know what triggered the Dr. Oz comment from my reader.  I’m sure I’ll never know and that’s OK (cuz I hit delete the next day). But I DO understand what triggered the first reaction in me. It was my inner critic saying “who are you to be putting advice out into the world?”

It’s moments like this that give me a chance to be honest about whether or not I’m truly making progress toward “never take anything personally.”

Mastering the skill of not taking things personally is huge mojo maker! Imagine living in a world you are rarely irritated, annoyed or upset. This doesn’t mean you have to let people treat you badly. I recommend excising those nattering nabobs of negativity from your life ASAP.

What it DOES mean is that you have a choice. So, the next time you’re tempted to take something personally (good or bad), step back…take 3 deep breaths….and decide. Do you want to be an actor in an unfolding drama…or will you use the energy you’re expending attaching to a negative thought for some higher good?

Dr. Anna Garrett

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