One of my favorite books of all time is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and according to him agreement number two is Don’t Take Anything Personally!
I will tell you all of the agreements are life changing but this one has been especially impactful for me in many of my relationships but most importantly with Joe.
We each, while walking along this path of life together, have our own unique history and background and experiences that affect who we are and how we behave and treat each other. And while Joe and I have been together a long time, it can be easy to fall into a comfortable place where you think you know everything about each other. The truth is we know less than we think we do and it is okay!
Maybe they had a bad day, issues at work they are still trying to process, a childhood memory that sparks an unintended reaction to something.
It is very easy to take their reaction or behavior personal when it wasn’t personal at all…
Let me give you a scenario. Joe had some stuff happen at work one day that had left him very frustrated with his boss, when he came home from work, I had just arrived myself and we walked in to the house together. He didn’t say much other than hello and he walked into the kitchen to grab something out of the refrigerator. As he was pulling it out it also pulled out a bowl of pudding, spilling it all over the floor. This obviously did not help his already challenging day and he said a few choice words.
Now earlier in our relationship I would have taken it personally and also gotten upset, which would have in turn escalated into an argument… which could easily go down the rabbit hole of bringing up all kinds of other stuff that had NOTHING to do with anything but just became a reason to argue and take it out on each other… aka… NOT GOOD!
Let’s change the scene… Don’t take it personally! It rarely if ever is about you although it will feel like it. Take a deep breath, walk away if necessary but give them the space to sort out whatever they are going through and talk when the time is right. I realize this is easier said than done and I am always a work in progress.
But it has had a huge impact not only on my relationship with Joe but everyone else I come in contact with.
A great reminder that you never know what someone else is going through and Don’t Take it Personally!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and please share with someone else who may need to hear this today.