It’s Not About Me
Don’t take anything personally.
—Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz from The Fifth Agreement
A self-limiting belief many of us have is that we’re the center of the universe. Everything that happens to us is somehow due to something we did. When others say or do things that hurt us, we assume that those actions are a response to us personally. In reality, others say and do things based on what they feel and think about what’s happening to them.
No one truly understands another person. We make up stories about what we think they must feel or want or believe. If someone doesn’t respond to an email I send, I might tell myself that they’re upset with my message or that I’m not important enough for them to take the time to email back when they may just be busy with other things. I may know that intellectually, but I still let it hurt me. (To be clear, I’m not talking about being oblivious of my actions and their affects on others or not asking for forgiveness if I have been careless in my words or actions and know that I have hurt someone).
We all live in our own world. Others’ opinions don’t have to determine what I do or who I am. When I don’t take things personally, I don’t rewrite my story to fit someone else’s view of the kind of person I should be or what I am capable of. I am free to be authentically me.