This is my favorite chapter and the most powerful, for me. Don’t. Take. Anything. Personally. How can we not? Someone yells out their pickup truck window, “Hey fatass, why don’t you pick up your pace?” Your best friend lies to you goes out with another friend after cancelling plans. Your boss yells at you for something that is commonly known to be done by all, how can we not take these things personally? Furthermore, when these things happen we are left wondering what we could have and should have done differently.
I used to always think that people were mad at me. I’d see some of my siblings together on social media and quickly wonder why I wasn’t invited and then immediately assume it’s because I am annoying or that someone is angry with me. Those thoughts would stay with me for the entire day and sometimes longer.
What people think of you is none of your business
This is the first thing that I read that opened the door to this concept. Below is a powerful excerpt from this chapter:
“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 from 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.
Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds. Thier point of view comes from all of the programming they received during domestication.
If someone gives you an opinion and says, “Hey, you look so fat.” don’t take it personally, because the truth is that this person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs and opinions. That person tried to send poison to you and if you take it personally, then you take that poison and it becomes yours. Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up.
You eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.”
I can apply this entire chapter to many different aspects of my life and can see now why I have certain preferences. For example, I work with 2 women who I tend to steer clear of, and which is no fault of theirs. They both remind me of two people in my extended family that I do not care for, and therefore do not care to socialize with these women if I can help it. I can see why they would be hurt if they knew that I was avoiding them– but what they need to know is that me avoiding them has nothing to do with them (well except for reminding me of family).
Remember how I said that I used to worry about people being mad at me– or not liking me? Well, that used to create an enormous conflict in my mind. I’m thinking that they’re mad at me (WHO is they anyway??) but at the same time I knew I did nothing wrong, so my mind is confused, conflicted and just feels really icky. Realizing that their actions (and thoughts and words) has nothing to do with me has been so eye opening and powerful for my state of mind.
As I practice this way of thinking, I can see myself getting better at worrying about myself instead of everyone else. I can also see myself identifying times when the old me would be offended, and realizing the truth of a situation.
For example, during the school year I heard something that made me feel really angry. One of the teachers I work with blew up at a grade level meeting with my principal and griped about students being pulled from class too much. I was furious, and took it very personally because I had continuously met with this teacher throughout the year to try to make this situation better. After I heard this, I had a strong desire to send a nasty email or go down to her classroom and give her an earful, after all, I was livid. But I had a large group of students for the next hour and had to try to focus on the lesson I was teaching. After the group left, I had a break and finally had some time to process what I had heard that made me so mad. Once I thought about it rationally, I realized that this teacher and this situation had NOTHING to do with me. For real. Students get pulled from her class all the time, from many different adults, not just me. For me to get so angry and immediately assume that it was about me was selfish and stupid. My mistake was hearing something disturbing and not having time to process it before getting upset. This is going to happen at times, we don’t always hear things at the most optimal times. A good rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours when angry before confronting someone.
I can name countless other examples from my life, or even things that I see on social media. In fact, I am recommending this book all the time because I’m constantly seeing situations that are nonsense and could be remedied by living the principles of this book.
I hope this was informative and helps you start thinking about how you may take things personally and how it might affect you <3