“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~ don Miguel Ruiz
The second agreement from don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements is Don’t Take Anything Personally. For many of us with thin skin, we take everything personally. When someone disparages us or says something mean, we take it to heart and believe it to be true. This happens because what the person has said triggers our old wounds. One of my old wounds is that I am not good enough. So, when a boss or colleague criticized my work, I was crushed and saw it as more proof that I really was not good enough.
Over the years, I have worked on not taking things personally. This is easier said than done, but the more I practice, the better I have become. A few weeks ago in the blog, I talked about human domestication. Ruiz tells us that during domestication you learned to take everything personally because you think you are responsible for everything. But you are not responsible for everything. The most important lesson, that has taken me a long time to learn, is that what someone says about me has nothing to do with me – it is about them. As soon as you understand that what people say about you has nothing to do with you, you will no longer take things personally. Each person is making judgments based on their life experiences, which are different than your experiences. Their point of view comes from all of the programming they received during their life. So what they say is more about them than it is about you – they have not lived your life and therefore cannot know your situation.
You take things personally because you are looking to others for validation that you are good, lovable and worthy. You must learn to look on the inside to know that you are good, lovable and worthy. You have a choice to let your self-worth come from the outside or the inside. Who will you give your power to – yourself or others?
When you follow the agreement to not take things personally, you will become immune to all of the negative energy and suffering that happens when you believe what others say about you. Whatever people say about you, remember not to take it personally. It is never about you!
Do you take what others say about you personally? If your answer is yes, what can you do to not take what others say personally?
When you get offended by what someone says, it is because they have triggered your old wounds. What are the wounds and limiting beliefs you still have that need to be addressed?
“Gossip is black magic at its very worst because it is pure poison… At first it may be difficult to avoid gossip entirely, but eventually you will see how breaking the agreement to gossip will transform your life.” don Miquel Ruiz
Last week we talked about the first agreement to be impeccable with your word from don Miguel Ruiz’s book the Four Agreements. Today, we will expand on that agreement with the focus on gossip.
We discussed that being impeccable with your word is one of the most difficult agreements to keep because your word includes your thoughts, written and oral communication. The other aspect that makes it difficult to keep is to not gossip. According to Ruiz, we learned how to gossip when we were children; we heard the adults in our lives gossiping and giving their opinions about other people. We saw gossip as the normal way to communicate. Everyone was doing it.
If you look at our culture, you see tabloid magazines full of gossip, reality television capitalizes on people talking bad about one another and creating drama, and social media sites are full of people venting about individuals they may or may not know. Gossiping has become our main form of communication. We use gossip as a way to feel close to one another and to feel better about ourselves. Some of the appeal of gossip is that there is a thrill when we feel that we are in on “the secret” about another person. Our ego likes to be “in the know” and feel superior to others. Our ego even loves negative gossip because we feel better about ourselves when we see other people suffer and make the same mistakes that we have – misery loves company.
When we gossip, we are not being impeccable with our word. Gossip is poison and we must stop the spread of it. This is a difficult agreement to break. Awareness is the key. Once I decided to be impeccable with my word, I noticed how many group interactions deal with gossip. I noticed which friends and groups spent more time gossiping. Start to pay attention to when and where you partake in gossip. Notice how it makes you feel when you gossip about others or yourself. Do you feel guilty or sad?
Since gossip is so prevalent in our society, what can you do?
I still struggle with gossip, but continue to pay attention in my conversations. I practice it one day at a time. When I make a mistake and engage with others in gossip, I stop. I don’t beat myself up. I again make the pledge to not gossip. And with each pledge it gets easier and I go for longer stretches of time without gossiping. It is difficult, but I feel so much better about myself when I am impeccable with my word and don't gossip.
How does gossip make you feel?
What can you do to stop the spread of gossip?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
My goal is to build a community with like-minded individuals who want to grow, share and learn from one another. Please post comments to enrich the experience for all.