Aug 04, 2015


The Four Agreements: Don’t Take Anything Personally [Book Pages]

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Editor’s Note: Book Pages is a weekend series, where we share wise words from books on our bookshelves!

Whatever happens around you don’t take it personally.  Using an earlier example, if I see you on the street and I say, “Hey, you are stupid,” without knowing you, it’s not about you; it’s about me.  If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you are stupid.  Maybe you think to yourself, “How does he know?  Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I am?”

You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said.  As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell.  What causes you to be trapped is what we call personal importance. Personal importance, taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about “me.”  During the period of our education, or our domestication, we learn to take everything personally.  We think we are responsible for everything.  Me, me, me and always me!

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.  Their point of view comes from all 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.

Pages 47 to 49 from the book titled: The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Perhaps one of the best short books you will ever read to feel good about yourself instantaneously.

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Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Dr. Perez-Litwin is the Founder & CEO of ELLA Leadership Institute, a multi-platform professional development organization designed to advance the careers and leadership of women. She's the creative force behind the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour, sponsored and live-streamed by Google.

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  1. This concept is really hard to wrap my mind around because I believe that words have power, but I kind of get where he’s going. I just don’t think I could remove that power from the words of others. Racial slurs especially…how can we overcome the hurt that we feel when those words are spoken in our direction? I’ve seen others who don’t let it get to them, I wish I knew how they do it.

    • You bring up a good point, but even when someone makes a racist remark, they, too, are coming from a place of ignorance (and in some instances, their own fears). Words do have power, but we have more power over them.

      • Thanks for the reply. I get what you’re saying. I’m wondering, does this book offer any help to readers do have trouble overcoming the hurt they feel from words?

        • I would suggest you read the whole book, actually. It’s a short book with a lot of important messages. He talks about “programming” and how we are socialized in ways that defeat us. As a side note, it’s important to realize that sometimes the hurt/pain we feel by other people’s words is related to other painful experiences in our lives. Gaining insight into that is always helpful.

  2. one of my favorite books. I really needed a reminder of that today due to something that happened during the week. Thank you

    • Oh, I’m so glad to hear that! This is why we started this weekend series. We all have great books on our bookshelves that are worth re-reading!

  3. THis book sounds inspiring. Going to look for it now on Amazon.

    Thank you

    • Alexandra, a must-have type of book. Best part of it: It’s really small. A great read. My bible.

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