Here’s a groovy thought for your week and one that I think is very important: Don’t take anything personally. I was reminded of this great advice when I recently reread one of my long-time favorite books, The Four Agreements. In this delightful guide to personal freedom, author don Miguel Ruiz introduces the four agreements—the second of which is “Don’t Take Anything Personally.”
But what does “Don’t Take Anything Personally” really mean? Ruiz explains it this way: “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own realty, their own dreams. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” Yes, these are very powerful words indeed.
I experienced the opposite of this agreement recently when I allowed myself to be hurt by the criticism of someone close to me. I thought deeply about her comment, as I’m always looking for ways to improve myself. But I finally realized that, in this instance, my dear friend was having an off week and perhaps the criticism was self-directed. When I looked at what was going on in her life, I saw that she was actually upset with her own situation, not me. Her criticism was directed at an area of her life that she wanted to change. That’s when I thought of The Four Agreements, and I lovingly reminded myself, “Don’t Take Anything Personally.”
It can be a balancing act to discern when a criticism you receive is valid and should be addressed or is simply something to be released and let go. Ask yourself this question, “Is this an area of my life that I wish to change?” If yes, then lovingly accept it and make a change. If the criticism seems to be out of left field and is not on your to-do list of self-improvement, then it’s actually a reflection of the person who offered it to you. Just gently dismiss it and continue on about your business.
This week, I choose to love the people who criticize me; it’s likely an aspect of something they wish to change and not a reflection of me at all. I lovingly thank them for caring enough to offer me their thoughts. After all, if someone doesn’t care, they would say nothing at all.
Namaste and much peace this week!