I have written on this topic earlier this year, after an encounter with someone in my life with whom I was having a difficult exchange. Recently, while reading The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, I realized that I still need a lot of work in this area. Although I don’t take things personally as often in my life, it is still something that is in my awareness.
One of the important points that he makes about taking things personally, is that it is the manifestation of what he calls personal importance. Early in life, we begin to be taught and then to understand ourselves how vitally important we are to the operation of the world. Therefore, all that occurs in the world must have to do with us, as least that is how it translates over time. We believe that we are at the center of any positive occurrences or negative ones that happen. He states it as the biggest form of selfishness there is.
The most consistent mantra that I use with myself in regard to this agreement, is that what someone says, or does, to me or with me, has nothing to do with me. However, because I believe everything does, at least some of the time, I take it all personally. I take it personally when a bank teller or grocery store clerk doesn’t seem friendly enough. When I smile at someone on the street and they don’t smile back. When I don’t get a phone call from a family member in a long time.
None of those occurrences have anything whatsoever to do with me.
I also have been learning, although this part has been even more challenging, to remember that even the glowing compliments are not to be taken personally. When someone gushes over me about how wonderful I am; or what a great job that I completed; or how much I am loved and appreciated. Even that should not be taken personally. People will say that based on what their view is of you, yet if you know, if I know, that I am a wonderful, loving, competent person, than I have no need to take even that stuff personally.
The biggest way that this agreement helps me in my life, and will continue to help as I grow with it, is that I learn that to be responsible and reliant on my self. I learn to build faith and trust in my ability to take care of my own needs, to grow the areas that need to be grown, and to let the rest go. It enables me to be in the world without taking in the poison of others, or the things and views that have nothing to do with me. It enables me to be fully in my life and see what an important part that I play in that life.
So, in order to follow my heart without judgment, I will keep remembering to not take things personally. It is one of the best ways that I can love myself, and love the world.