Dear Soul Sister,
I’m an extrovert and have always felt drawn outward. It felt like life happened “out there” and “to me”. I actually feel like many of us have been conditioned with similar beliefs about life happening to us. Some of what I received was that it’s a big bad world out there and we have to do our best to survive:) I would love to hear your thoughts about this because I think these beliefs are beginning to shift!
I remember when I first learned the concept of personal responsibility in a group therapy session in London for my son’s OCD. The facilitator said that no one can “make you mad”. The other person may do or say something that rubs up against one of your emotional wounds but it’s your choice as to whether you allow it to ‘make’ you mad or not. I can’t control someone else’s experience and they can’t control mine, even though we can lose a lot of energy trying! This was revolutionary for me at the time!! I’d spent most of my life hoping and trying to control other people in order to protect myself, mostly at an unconscious level.
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements – A Toltec Wisdom Book, the second agreement is, Don’t Take Things Personally! He says, “As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.” He says that this creates incredible personal freedom and reduces unnecessary suffering.
This past weekend I attended Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco and really enjoyed the workshop and talks by Byron Katie. Her process ‘The Work’ was another reminder that nothing is really happening ‘out there’ but rather it’s all a creation of our own mind. One of her comments was “If I want to change the world, I change my thoughts and the world changes”. It is fascinating to watch her so masterfully guide someone to see that the thoughts they are projecting onto someone else, blaming them for creating the feelings they are having, is just a mirror for their own experience. When she has them turn the thought around from “He hurt me” to “I hurt me” or “I hurt him”, the person doing The Work can feel how this is true. We are the only one who is responsible for our own experience.
We are each having our own experience based on our perspective, our attitude and where we place our attention. The truth is that we are each having our own experience of reality. It’s our choice if we decide to be offended by the opinions or actions of others.
I invite you to listen to our latest podcast to learn more about this topic and how you can befriend and empower yourself by taking self responsibility.
Not only is there a huge personal freedom that comes from not taking things personally but it also allows you to keep your heart open, knowing that no one else can hurt you. We would love to hear you stories about when you may have taken on projections and opinions from others and how you have learned not to take things personally.
Hugs and love,