The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Don’t take anything personally.

That’s the second agreement of Don Miguel Ruiz’s classic, “The Four Agreements” and in my opinion, the most difficult to follow.

I needed a reminder this weekend and again today. The Holidays are a time for family fun and bonding..but sometimes, we clash with our loved ones. Indirect comments are made, insults can slip or bad moods can cause tension. It’s normal, I mean…Planning time with friends and family….cooking….getting everything ready… it can all get a bit stressful, making us more vulnerable and emotional to, well, LIFE.

But a holiday family feud isn’t the only time we experience this. It happens every single day when we walk into the grocery store and the attendant is rude to us. We think “OMG, what’s her problem? What did I do to deserve such bad treatment?” Or maybe our partner wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and was just a little too quiet. We immediately make the assumption ” Hmm. Did I do something to cause this? Maybe their mad at me…How can I fix this?”

I’ve certainly struggled with not allowing what others say, what they do, and the opinions they give to affect me… It’s a practice you have to master. I’m not there yet.

So as I continue to develop myself into the best version I can be, I recap the books I’ve read and try to soak in as much of the message as I possibly can.

 Don Miguel Ruiz writes:

Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally…Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing….When we really see other people as they are without taking it personally, we can never be hurt by what they say or do. Even if others lie to you, it is okay. They are lying to you because they are afraid.

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally. You become immune to black magicians, and no spell can affect you regardless of how strong it may be. The whole world can gossip about you, and if you don’t take it personally you are immune. Someone can intentionally send emotional poison, and if you don’t take it personally, you will not eat it. When you don’t take the emotional poison, it becomes even worse in the sender, but not in you.

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. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.

If you keep this agreement, you can travel around the world with your heart completely open and no one can hurt you. You can say, “I love you,” without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need.

We’re human, we’re not perfect. But I’ve discovered that if we keep Don Miguel’s message in mind, we can be more aware of how we receive the external things around us and nothing can hurt us….which is really freaking empowering!

Write in the comments if you’re like me and have taken anything personal. How did you overcome it?