How many reactions do you have in a day about other people’s behaviors, words or actions? How do you react if someone walks ahead of you through a door and lets the door slam into you or a family member who gossips about you? I know I spend too much time telling myself stories about what other people do.
What about you? Do you spend a lot of time judging and talking about other’s behaviors?
I’ve read and reread over the years “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book is an easy read, yet in its simplicity lays the knowledge on how to create well-being in our lives.
The #2 Agreement is ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally.’ When we take what others do seriously, we agree with their perception or behavior. I think most of us think the opposite, in that, if we pay attention, we may have the ability to change it. The more attention that we give to another person’s behavior, the more we are supporting it. That’s true for both negative and positive behaviors. It’s a choice we each make every day whether to focus on the positive or negative actions of others.
When I first read the chapter in “The Four Agreements,” I immediately thought that’s not easy to accomplish. I’m not unique; I probably believe that most things are about me. Now I think that when I’m reacting, my behavior is about me. It doesn’t matter how much we respond; other people’s behaviors are not about us. It’s still all about them.
It’s not to say that I allow others to behave towards me destructively; instead, I choose not to take what they do personally but instead focus on how to solve the problem for me.
I can have a conversation with the person, let them know how I feel, and then let it go because the other person decides whether they are going to change their behavior. If they choose not to change it, then I can recognize it’s their behavior and decide not to have anything to do with them.
If I’m in a situation where I can’t remove myself, say at work, I can decide to recognize that their behavior is an indication of them and not me. It’s hard not to react, yet when we do, it’s amazing how much stress is released, and we get to take care of ourselves, recognizing we can’t change another person’s behavior.
When we decide to take personally, what others do to us only adds more stress to our lives. All that negative energy that we give attention to, when in fact, we do not have any control over. Maybe we think by talking, discussing or complaining about others, we can change the behavior. Even if we share our reactions with the other, we cannot change their actions. So why take it personally. Instead, allow the other person to live with their choices. We decided to make our choices.
When I decided to take the journey towards learning to let go of what others do, I started to relax more and had more energy to live my own life. Reacting to others takes a lot of energy, and I don’t want to give over to others my precious assets – my time and my well-being.
I have this image of taking a broom and dustpan and sweeping up all those reactions that permeate my daily living. After giving my mind an excellent sweeping, I can now decorate it with the belief that I’m in charge of my choices. That doesn’t mean my choices are easy now; instead, I make a conscious choice to stop reacting to what others do personally and give my power over to them. When I take responsibility for my reactions, I live with integrity and self-love.
It’s all about choosing what path we want to take in life…
Let me know where you are at in your life around what other people do and whether you take it personally. Do you think it’s possible to let go of taking personally what other people do?
Women’s Group Topics
Group situations can initiate reactions around other people’s behaviors. Does your group have situations where you can learn not to react to each other? A perfect topic to help each other handle situations and decide not to take responsibility for how other people act.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec Wisdom by Don Miguel Ruiz
Tags: change your thinking, change your thoughts, changing habits, eliminating stress, group topics, lessons in life, let go of complaining, let go of the drama, letting go, letting go of guilt, life lessons, other people's behavior, self-care, women's group topics, your reactions