You know I am in love with the book “The Four Agreements”, by Don Miguel Ruiz. I mention and suggest this book so often, that you might think that I am Don Miguel in disguise, but no. The truth is simply that I have seen this book transform people. You cannot possibly read this book and remain the same as you were before. After I read this book, it was like walking into an entirely different world. Everything looked the same, the people around me were the same, I had the same job, but nothing was the same. What had changed? My perception of everything and everyone, most of all the way I perceived myself.
As the title of the book suggests, their are four agreements, the second of which is “Don’t Take Anything Personally”. This was a strange idea for me, that is for sure. I used to take everything personally, and I mean every little thing. Being a self-employed musician, people usually see me playing music on stage, but that is probably the smallest part of being a musician. You don’t see me networking, compiling my lists of venues, calling, e-mailing, texting, having gigs cancelled, getting gigs I didn’t think I’d get, not getting gigs I though I’d get… there is a lot of business-type stuff involved, not to mention promotion, maintaining a web site,etc… OH! and the music! So this job is very much a sales job, and people either buy me or they don’t. A perfect opportunity to take things personally! Remember, I am not selling bread, or nails, I am selling me and my talents. Before reading this book, I took everything personally, and had no idea why i felt like “This job is killing me!”
Also, I have a mother and a father, aunts and uncles, cousins, my wife and daughter, I am involved in several different organizations to varying degree’s too. I used to take everything personally not only with my job, but everywhere. If a clerk at the grocery store wasn’t pleasant, I’d even take that personally. It is no wonder that life was hard for me. I woke up every day, and braced myself for the beating I was about to take. This is no way to live, and I am most grateful that life is not this way for me anymore.
So how do I not take things personally? I know you are ready for this by now! I am going to quote from the book, and hope that you will get a copy of this book for yourself, so that you can read more.
“If I see you on the street and I say “Hey, you are so stupid,” without knowing you, it’s not about you; it’s about me. If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you are stupid. Maybe you think to yourself, “How does he know? Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I am?” You take it personally because you agree with whatever he said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell. What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance. Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me”. (then he goes on to say) Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world than the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”
This is a lot, I know. The idea that each person lives in their own world, also brings up the fact that we are truly all alone. This was not appealing to me at first, but once I started realizing the truth of this agreement, life began to get a lot easier and more pleasant. Now I don’t have to brace myself anymore.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this idea! Also, if you find this interesting or helpful, please feel free to share with your friends, using the social media buttons below.
Thank you and many blessings to you today!