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Monthly Archives: July 2009

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Last night in my workshop Live Your True Spirit in CT, our wonderful women’s group explored all the ways we suffer and hurt when we take personally things that happen in our lives.  From feeling dejected when we don’t win a job, to experiencing the discomfort of disconnection from the individual we’re with, to not being liked, or being rebuffed for something we do…we agonize over the feeling that “I blew it,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “There’s a good reason this person doesn’t like me,” or “she’s wrong and I’m right!”


In the amazingly powerful little wisdom book, The Four Agreements, author Don Miguel Ruiz explores four life-changing agreements to make and live by for ultimate personal freedom, including the Second Agreement – “Don’t Take Anything Personally.”  Ruiz has a treasure trove of transformational wisdom to share; in fact, I cannot count how many people have told me that this little book changed their lives (count me among them).


About taking things personally, Ruiz explains the following:


“When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts.  You make something big out of something so little, because you have the need to be right and make everybody else wrong   You also try hard to be right by giving them your own opinions.  In the same way, whatever you feel and do is just a projection of your own personal dream, a reflection of your own agreements.  What you say, what you do, and the opinions you have are according to the agreements you have made – and these opinions have nothing to do with me (page 50).


He also shares his concept of the war that goes on in each of our minds, as our minds are full of conflicting voices and personalities, with different agreements that do not necessarily support each other. 


Ruiz shares his belief that, “Wherever you go, you will find people lying to you, and as your awareness grows, you will notice that you also lie to yourself.  Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves.  You have to trust yourself and choose to believe or not to believe what someone says to you.”


I know in my heart Ruiz’s wisdom is right-on – the challenge is in living this truth, living this agreement each and every day, every minute.  Our egos hate it – my small self wants everyone else to be wrong, and me to be right!  But I’m truly tired of that way of living (I’m having one of my “allergic reactions” again!”)


I’m so thankful to my workshop attendees for reminding me of this agreement (and this little book of Four).  Thanks, ladies!


Perhaps you’re ready to stop taking things personally?  You’ll feel so free and strong when you do.  I think it’s time to make some new agreements, yes?

Move Away from Fear

 In the past two months, I’ve had more than a handful of clients who are dealing with some intense emotional conflicts with others. In fact, I’ve had one or two interpersonal interactions myself that left me reeling. What do these challenges mean when they appear in our lives?


From my view, they mean that fear is playing a major, active role in driving behavior – yours or those you are dealing with. It’s time to let the fear go and put it to rest.


Fear puts us into an intensive reactive mode – a suffocating, tight corner from which we feel we can’t emerge without our dukes up and defenses ready to engage full throttle. But living from this fear place only engenders more fear, more conflict, and more resistance – in short, misery. The only way out of this perpetual cycle is to stop fearing – and start having full faith and trust– in yourself and in your higher power and highest self, to begin acting from your heart so that you can lose the need to continually tap your arsenal of defensive responses.


Let’s do this exercise to help let go of the fear that is most active in your life today:

1) Take three deep, down-to-the-stomach breaths – relaxing more deeply each time in you inhale and exhale

2) Bring to your mind’s eye the major interpersonal conflict you’re having today. See it and feel it clearly. Who does it involve? What do they want, and what do you want in this situation? What are you truly struggling about?

3) Now envision an ideal resolution to this conflict – what does it look like, and how would you know you’ve achieved a resolution? What would be different in your life, in your relationship, in your emotions?

4) Take three more deep breaths, and ask yourself, “What is my deepest fear about having this beautiful resolution come to pass? What am I most afraid of here?”


Write out your answers to this question about what you fear, and take some time to explore in your mind, heart and soul what you really want.


Do you want to win at all costs, and continue to live from fear, or do you want to follow your heart with this individual, and do what feels really good to you?


Let go of your fear – the space it creates will bring to you new experiences and emotions that are not fear-based, but heart- and soul-based. You’ll see an enormous difference in your life and your relationships when you trust yourself and your higher self’s intuition about what it’s time to let go of.


What fear will you commit to letting go of today?

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