I’ve been re-reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements for the nth time. I love this book and all of his books!
I recently reviewed the second agreement: Don’t take anything personally. This paragraph really hit home with me:
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 (Ruiz, 1997, p. 56).
We all have that one Facebook friend (or any social media friend) who has to chime in with his or her two cents even though they have nothing constructive to say. They comment because it feeds their need to be right and make everyone else wrong but does little to add to overall conversation other than to create conflict.
In spite of my desire to avoid conflict, it makes me want to snap back with my own negativity so that I can feel right too. Most often, I choose to say nothing. Not because I don’t feel my opinions are valid or that I don’t feel right (because I clearly do otherwise I wouldn’t feel offended by their comments) but because I feel compassion for them.
I have compassion that the way they view the world is merely them projecting their own personal dream. The dream they were taught. The dream they have nourished. The dream that makes them feel safe. I have compassion because their dream is not my dream and what they dream – their opinions – have nothing to do with me.
Are their opinions annoying? Absolutely! Do they cause friction and hurt? Yes, sometimes. Is it intentional? Maybe or maybe not.
Regardless of their intention, when I choose not to take their comments personally – I am free. Free from the spell of their dream because their opinions, their thoughts, their ideals have nothing to do with me.
I choose freedom. What do you choose?
Ruiz, D. M. (1997). The four agreements. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing.