Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally…Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.
—Don Miguel Ruiz, “The Four Agreements”
Take nothing personally, including yourself. Especially yourself. The voices of ego/conditioning, they’re not you. If they were, you wouldn’t feel so crappy when they are rattling on and on about what should be different, how you should be different, what you are doing wrong. In fact, if they were you, you wouldn’t even notice them. In which case you might be a sociopath. But, you are not. So yes, you feel like shit, as they prattle on, because they are not in alignment with your deepest, divine, bright, shining self. They are not you.
Who the hell are they you wonder? Egocentric, karmic conditioning comes from outside of us. It’s the combined stories of the communities we were raised in. Our families, our schools, our friends, our places of worship, media. The stories we told ourselves as a young children trying to make sense of the world. They are the layers and the bricks and mortar that make up our pseudo acceptable public faces.
There is nothing wrong with these stories. Don’t even think about going there. They have served you in your life. You might even take a moment to thank these stories, before acknowledging that they no longer serve you.
Yes. Thank you.
What a timely reminder. I’m in the midst of a mindfulness practice bonanza right now. Opportunities are flying at me left and right. The one I am embracing this week is not taking myself personally.
I saw the most brilliant setup in my meditation and mindfulness group this week. As I manifest a new home, more lovely than I could possibly imagine, I watch ego/conditioning sweep in and wreak havoc.
In the morning my thoughts look like this: My old home is no longer in alignment with all the beauty and wonder that I am manifesting in my life. I trust, that while I am without a permanent home right now, I am in fact on the path to a home beyond my wildest dreams. Freedom and possibility abound.
In the afternoon my thoughts look like this: This SUCKS! I must have done something terribly wrong to end up here. I am not in alignment at all.
My meaning-making machine is working overtime to try and make sense of it all, and find some peace in this stressful time. It’s a wonder I don’t give myself whiplash as I fling myself between these two places. My body tells me maybe I have.
Peace and ease are possible when I don’t take myself personally by holding in acceptance all parts of myself. The one who has hope and desire. The one who is stressed and feeling wrong. The one in the middle reminding me, “Shit happens. This too will pass.”
The setup I saw was about manifesting my desire. If I didn’t quickly find my new dream home, it would mean I’m doing it wrong. Old story. Old setup. Can’t win. The setup is that I should be able to find peace and ease, even when everything sucks. That setup is that things should be different than they are. The setup is a homerun for ego and suffering.
Instead of getting mad at myself (and stacking up on self-help books that will help me get into alignment, so that I can make things happen the way I want them to), I practice not taking myself personally. I watch myself swing between these polarities with amusement and kindness. Which is only possible when I don’t take myself personally.
This morning I was taken in by the beauty of the sunrise (I have to get up extra early to pick up my guys at their dad’s and take them to school). The morning air was crisp. The birds were singing at full volume. I even had time to walk on the beach, which is something I would do in my dream life. Isn’t life just a hoot?
How about you? What have you been taking personally lately? What might be possible if you saw through the stories, gave a big hug to the parts of yourself telling them?
Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
3 thoughts on “Take Nothing Personally — Especially, Yourself”
I like the way you think! One should not care what others think… because they are focused on what society tells them they should be. Our lives are ours to mold as we see fit and only people insecure with themselves worry about the opinion of others. Yes it is easy for me to say now after living more than a decade alone in a remote Alaskan cabin, where I had enough time and no outside influences, to find the ‘real’ me but even now in civilization I know I do not have to change to fit what others think I should be. Thanks for a great post.
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Thanks Pete. A decade alone in a remote Alaskan cabin… now there’s some time for deep reflection! I’m smiling because those “outside influences” are always messing with my so called zen vibe, and they are my best teachers, leading me deeper into knowing and accepting all parts of myself.
I wonder, do you also find this to be so, now that you have returned to civilization?
Love this! It’s both an effective and compassionate way of dealing with our egos.
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