Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. Don Miguel Ruiz
I have had several 'big-bangs' of awareness in my life. One of the most freeing and caring things I discovered over the years is what Ruiz says is wonderfully true. "Don't take anything personally." Others' expectations, opinions and judgments I have discovered with great relief are not about me. Every human being is relating from their own sense of self or lack of it, their level of consciousness and how they see the world. Yet, when such statements are delivered they can feel very personal and very hurtful. Worse still they can rob us of our own sense of worthiness as they are, too often, offered as truth.
When I was young and discovering an identity in the world independent of parents and others, I needed society to mirror a nurturing value and identity back to me. I needed all the things we need until we don't need them. Thus, peoples' opinions mattered, most everything anyone said about my value pro or con, mattered.
Another season in life where opinion and judgement ruled was my divorce. Everyone seemed to know what it was about but me. I experienced it as a 'good wife' waking up to the fact that marriage itself was a social institution and not a holy writ. Love and relationship are sacred but the institution, at times, does not necessarily serve that end. Thus, I left the institution but my husband did not come. I was asking too much. Nowadays, people can "live together" wonderfully in relationship, but not then.
Adult parents of adult children also need a good dose of, 'It isn't you and it isn't personal.' This is a great training ground. When we wonder: why don't they call, why don't they visit more often, it merely is another opportunity to learn this most freeing of soul-lessons, 'It isn't about you.' Parents are loved, no matter if they are 'axe murders.' So most of us have made the grade. Maybe they don't call because they are engaged with growing careers, family, etc -- or -- yes, maybe their actions are neglectful, careless and thoughtless. Thinking back, I know mine were, at times.
Thankfully, over time, a freeing immunization from others' opinions has developed. "We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."* I love the freedom of knowing "It's not personal." I love others' 'light-being-ness' as well as my own. Thus, my litmus test is when hurt or my value gets a dent, I ask, "Would a 'light-being' which we each essentially are, be careless, neglectful, put me down or make damaging remarks? I don't think so. Plus, my guess is, if I lived with the angels and in my own sense of Presence, I'd feel wonderfully helped and alive after most encounters.
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* Anais Nin