I’ve had a fascinating opportunity this week to practice the second of Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements: “Don’t take anything personally.”
As a habitual people pleaser, I made taking things personally a high art. In the last few years, I’ve made a conscious effort to take my sensitivity down a notch or six and realize that sometimes other people’s stuff is just that: their stuff. Not mine.
In the past few days I’ve had two opportunities to look at this issue closely thanks to the newspaper. In both cases, people in the business community have gotten very angry at the newspaper and, because I write the Business Watch column, they have directed their anger at me, one quite publicly. In each case, I truly don’t think there’s anything I could say that would cause them to see the situation differently.
In the past, these situations would have gotten me so riled up that I’d still be upset six months from now. I would have wanted to defend myself.
This time I was able to let it go at this: I fulfilled my objectives based on the guidelines that I’ve been given; I did a good job; I didn’t set out to harm anyone. I did the best I could.
I strive for excellence in all I do at the newspaper. In both these cases, the person on the other end is upset with the results.
I know that as I pursue a career in the personal development field, there is one truth that can’t be ignored: not everyone will like me. If I’m doing my job well, I will trigger people’s stuff. Some people will choose to work with me specifically because of that. Others will choose to walk away. I have to learn to be okay with that! I have to let go of the desire to make everyone like me.
I can’t take these things personally because ultimately, they’re not about me. Their fight isn’t with me. Perhaps it’s with the newspaper…but in a bigger sense, it’s about something within themselves. I can’t take responsibility for that and I can’t take their anger personally. I didn’t do anything wrong.
Is it possible to put into words what a huge shift this is for me? Probably not. But the fact that both of these situations cropped up within a few days of each other made it SO clear to me that it’s impossible to ignore.
On another note – this afternoon I dipped into a really sad place. I was at work and didn’t know what else to do, so I put up a message on Facebook saying I was said and could use a hug. I was astounded – so far I’ve received about 30 messages of love and support, and they still keep coming. I’m feeling much better now, and it’s very much thanks to the fact that I reached out and my community reach back. What a miracle! Thank you to my friends, both near and far away. I love you!
The gorgeous image of The Four Agreements was found here.