The Subtle Art of Not Taking Anything Personally

 

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Have you read, The Four Agreements? While my mom would probably cringe if she ever heard me say this, in a way it’s like my bible. I’ve gifted it to uber drivers, strangers, friends and family, hoping it would give them the same clarity it has given me and many of my friends who have read it. One of the four agreements written about in the book is to never take anything personally, ever – even to the extreme of someone pointing a gun at your head, because the reality is, it is never really about you. That person is dealing with their self and their realty, which has absolutely nothing to do with you.

This is one of the harder agreements for me, but trust me when you really start to practice it, you will free up so much of the stress, anger and sadness that you were self-inducing. 

Imagine this scenario, you walk past a complete stranger on the street and they turn their nose up at you and snicker to themselves. Immediately you feel yourself becoming upset. You may even want to ask them what their problem is. You start thinking about your outfit, your hair, maybe even your race. You start making assumptions on what about you is causing this person to act like this, when in reality not only does it not matter, you also shouldn’t be taking it personally. This person is dealing with their own set of agreements that they have made in their mind. Maybe you have tattoos and in this person’s culture only gang members have tattoos, so to them, you must be in a gang. Maybe your outfit in their opinion is too revealing based on their own upbringing or moral values. Perhaps your hair is in a style they think is too bold based on their conservative beliefs. Again, none of this has anything to do with you. This person is merely reacting to all of these agreements that they have had in their mind, possibly since childhood. It’s not personal, because it’s not about you, it’s about them. 

I have a habit of noticing things on other people first, that I have personal insecurities with, perhaps you do the same. Let’s say someone walks past you with cystic acne and growing up you had cystic acne as well. Maybe you notice them picking at their skin, or eating foods that aren’t great for skin issues and you find yourself becoming bothered by it. You don’t know this person at all but due to your own personal story with acne you want to shake them and tell them about all of the things they are doing wrong. Imagine again that you know someone who is constantly in and out of bad relationships and you can’t seem to understand why you are so bothered by it until you realize, hey 5 years ago that was me. This person triggers something in you because in them, you see your own flaws. Your disdain for them has absolutely nothing to do with them, it’s that they mirror issues you have had and it bothers you. 

Someone can literally tell you are perfect on Monday and on Tuesday say you are the worst person they ever met, neither day should you take it personally. They are saying these things based on their own agreements, based on what you did or do for them, based off what they want from you, not based on you. You know you aren’t perfect and you also know you aren’t a devil. Even with me and my writing, I think I’m a great writer on my own. A million people could tell me I was horrible and I truthfully would not believe them because based on my own agreements, I believe God gifted me with the art of story telling. I don’t allow people’s opinions of me to change my opinion of myself. People are fickle. Our like for someone can change with the seasons, my love for myself must be constant because I am stuck with myself for the rest of my life so hating myself is not an option.

The truth is, no one ever knows what is going on in someone else’s mind or why they behave the way they do. We can speculate all we want but ultimately, again we are doing so through our own spectrum, our own vision of how we view the world based on agreements we made and believed to be true many years ago. I had a conversation with a friend recently who revealed to me he wouldn’t date women who had ever done drugs due to how he viewed people doing drugs growing up. Most people are not in-tune enough to realize the reason behind why we view people a certain way or why things affect us in the ways that they do. Ultimately, when we learn to put our egos aside and start taking ourselves out of the equation, accepting that nothing anyone does ultimately should be taken personal because it is a reflection of them and not us, we will gain so much more happiness, clarity and emotional freedom.

 

As always,

 

Love & light

 

-Ashley

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