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Don’t Take Anything Personally: Understanding the 2nd Agreement

Don’t take it personally. Well, here’s what the book Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz says. Nothing others do is because of you or in spite of you. It is because of their own world, their own agreements, their own understanding. Nothing other people do is because of you, or in spite of you, even when it feels like it’s personal. So what others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you’re immune to the opinion and actions of others you won’t be a victim of needless suffering. 


Not everything is about you. And I would say this directly to your loved ones if you got a loved one. That’s an addiction this and that, and I’ll say that not everything’s about you, because I need you to consider this the same way you wake up in the morning, and you have your coffee, and you run your errands, and you’re thinking about yourself, and what you have to do next, and what you got to put in your fridge, and what bills you got to send out, and who do you have to visit this week, and what work agendas and tasks you have, and etc. So is everyone else. They are waking up into their own world, their own dream, their own reality – they’re doing all the things they got to do for themselves. And when people are doing all of those things for themselves and for their own world, guess who and what they’re not thinking about? You. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a reality. 


It’s a Choice

We think that when we engage with another human being, when they do things and say things, that they’re saying it to us. It’s not as if somebody comes and tells me that I’m stupid. It’s not that they’re saying it to me. It’s an agreement that they’ve made about what they think that even means. See, the moment I believe what other people say, the moment I breathe life into that word, in that moment it becomes real in my reality. And remember earlier I told you that the whole sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you? As a child we don’t have the ability to look at something and not take it personal. That’s all we know. But as we grow up and we develop skills and tools and languages and the gift of perspective then we have to stop acting like a child. Because if someone says something to me the only way what they say is real is if I accept it, if I believe it.  If they’re giving me that poison and I choose not to drink it I will not get poisoned. 

If I don’t take it personal and just say that’s just their thoughts, that’s their opinions, it has no weight, no meaning. 


Your Opinion is NOT my Business

In the Al Anon and Coda groups they say the following statement: “Your opinion of me is none of my business.” Your opinion of me is none of my business, but how many people make that their business? What you say about me, is that really what you think? Well, here they’ll throw three things back at them and take things personal. It’s just such a difficult, trapped, prisoned way of life. 


How many times have I gotten on a phone with a parent? “We don’t know, you don’t know what we’ve done for them. Now this is how they repay us, and this is what they’re doing, and they don’t love us, they don’t respect us, they don’t do this, they don’t do that.” When you’re on the other side of it talking to that person that’s using the drugs, that’s done all those things to the parent, when they’re trying to get high and get by and survive, they’re not thinking about you or anybody else. They are in survival mode. They’re not thinking about disrespecting someone to get what they’re trying to get to, but the family thinks that’s the case. And when we understand that nothing other people do is because of us, that it’s their own world, their own reality, there’s a sense of freedom in it. 


It’s a Binary Choice

So when it comes down to it, if you start to speak positive to yourself in The First Agreement, in the direction of love and truth and you start to say things to yourself that you start to believe, because you’re the one saying them it’s not the world saying it. You’re saying it. We are left with a binary choice. A binary choice means 0 or 1. It means A or B. It means this way or this way. There is no other option. 


And here’s the binary choice – either you take what people say to you and you take it personal and you get full of anger, sadness, resentment, you get disempowered, you lose your motivation, you lose your ambition. Or you start to listen to the things you tell yourself. No other option, no other option. 


One or the other. If you’ve been living a certain way, just downloading what the world and society says to you, and taking it all personal, how is that working for you? And how much longer do you want to subscribe to that way of thinking? 


You always see it man, someone on the road – you’re driving and you’re on the freeway minding your own business and there’s some idiot there who just kind of swerves in front of you and swerves in front of someone else and you’re like, “How dare he disrespect me?” You pull down the window, you flip him the bird, and you’re like, “You disrespectful person, blah blah blah man, do you really think out of the 2,000 cars on that freeway that that’s a personal move?” Man, sometimes we get these big egos and we think that things that happen around us are happening to us. They’re just happening. 


Our Perspective Frees Us 

Our perspective of that event is what frees us people in recovery, in early stages of recovery, they have a hard time with this one. And family members, I’m telling you this. You have a hard time with this one because of all of the attempts and actions and steps you’ve taken to prevent your loved one from disaster now everything you do you take it personal. And what if I told you it’s not? I’m surprised people don’t have questions about this because if some of the audience listening to this knows they struggle with taking things personally. I really hope they would ask a question about it because I know that outside of maybe a few of you that have been exposed to this type of work the majority of society struggles with this one. So you want to choose peace and happiness over anger and fear.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.