Sunday, April 28, 2013

Don't Take Anything Personally


Small doses of wisdom mend the deepest wounds.  The Four Agreements packs four doses without any sugar to help the medicine go down.  Here is the hardest agreement for me to swallow: Don't take anything personally. 

I honor the practicality of this agreement.  My experiences are based solely on my thoughts -- my perspective.  I might meet you and not like you.  Someone else (let's call her Sally) might meet you and love you.  How is this possible?  Because I experience you from my perspective, and Sally experiences you from her perspective.  It has nothing to do with you. 

That I believe you are an arrogant, self-serving imbecile has everything to do with me and the story I tell myself about you.  "He's so rude!  I can't believe he didn't shake my hand!"  What would happen if I changed the story?  "He didn't shake my hand.  That's okay.  Let me try to learn more about him."  Telling myself the first story propels me into the I Hate You and Your Mama stratosphere; the second story beckons me to add you to my Christmas card list. 

This doesn't mean that we mistreat people while waving a Don't Take Anything Personally banner. We are responsible for respecting, loving, and honoring one another.  Although this agreement might sound lofty, it is life-changing and liberating.  It frees me from the confines of judgments and opinions; it boosts my confidence, and it restores my power.