Last week I wrote about the first of the four agreements: be impeccable with your word. The next agreement in this series is don’t take anything personally. While learning to be impeccable with my word was a big change for me, learning not to take anything personally was even more difficult. I have always been very concerned with what people think of me, wondering what they might say about me when they leave. It has caused me so much anxiety!
So what exactly does this agreement mean?
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. Let’s look at an example of this:
You are at work and your coworker is very snappy and short with you. It seems like anything you do makes them even more upset and you just can’t do anything right. Little do you know, your coworker is dealing with a poor functioning relationship with their partner. They got in a fight before work that morning and your coworker is replaying their fight over and over in his/her head. Their attitude towards you actually has nothing to do with you.
If you take this personally, you may start to feel very anxious and think that it is all your fault. You may spend your entire day at work trying to figure out what you did wrong and how you can fix it. This distracts you from your work and leaves you feeling inadequate. In this situation, there was nothing you could have done to help the situation. That coworker was dealing with their own personal problems. If you looked at this situation using this agreement, you wouldn’t have been the victim of needless suffering. You could have had a productive day at work and left feeling perfectly fine. Remember, everyone is dealing with something.
There is another way of viewing this agreement. Think of someone you don’t like. What is it you don’t like about them? Not what you tell yourself or what you may tell others, what is it you really don’t like about them. Do you not like them because they have really great hair and always seem so put together? Take that thought inward… do you not like your hair? do you feel like a hot mess a lot of the time? Maybe you don’t like someone because they are very confident and you call it egotistic. Is it really because you are lacking your own self confidence?
So many times we dislike people because we are actually jealous that they have something we feel we don’t. Let’s circle back to the meaning of this agreement, “what others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.” I can bet that the next time you say you don’t like someone, it is really you projecting your own reality or dream. Looking at life with this different perspectives can be life changing! There is a sense of relief when you stop caring what others say or think of you and when you see clearly your projections on others.