Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Stop Taking Things Personally!
This may seem easier said than done, but don't take anything personally! Most of us spend our days letting our ego be in charge of our reactions, and our ego loves to take things personally. Our ego likes to create illusions of reality and enjoys putting us right in the middle of that reality. If we could stop taking things that others say personally, we would be much happier people.
Don't take things personally is one of the Four Agreements from the ancient Toltec philosophies. I also see this often in Buddhist quotes as well. It is excellent advice and helps to put us on the right track to be more content in our lives. The problem is that in this day and age, people take everything personally, and look where it has gotten us!
Racism, stereotypes, discrimination and so many other concepts are steeped in taking things personally. Here is the kicker, most of the time things said to us have absolutely nothing to do with us, but our ego want to take everything personally. If your boss says nasty things to you, or your spouse is frustrated and lashes out, it is because of them and how their day is going, but we will certainly take the negative words to heart.
Our egos like to absorb sensory information, and use our knowledge and memories to create an understanding in our minds. These stories that are created are completely based in illusion of reality, yet we believe the stories created to be true. This is where stereotyping and racism begin. Since we take things personally, anything that has been taught to us or that we have experienced in the past will become a factor.
If we have been wronged by a person of a certain color or race in the past, our ego will bring that information up when we are faced with a similar person. This does not make us a racist, but the thoughts we have may be considered to be. We took something personally in the past and now it is manifesting itself in our ego, and our perceptions will be based upon that.
If we stop taking things personally, we begin to realize that people act the way they do because of them, not because of us. Even when a nasty comment is directed our way, it could be because of something we have done, but the comment is based in the wielder's view and not from ours.
We stop taking things personally as our empathy and understanding of others grows. We learn that each person has their own struggles which cause their behaviors, and almost all of the time their behavior comes from within them, and has nothing do with us whatsoever.
If you have never read the Four Agreements, it is just over a hundred pages and definitely worth reading, especially if you are looking for self-improvement. The four agreements are posted at the top of this article, and they simply make sense.
When you are out in public try practicing as much as possible to not take others actions personally. The more you work at this, the easier it becomes. I guarantee that when you stop taking things personally, you will be less stressed and a happier person.