Thursday, August 25, 2016

damn, I did it AGAIN!

I know I've said this before, but one of the best books I've ever read was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I read it almost 20 years ago and still find something new in each re-reading. 

The agreements themselves are simple, but they are not easy:
  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don't take things personally
  3. Don't make assumptions
  4. Always do your best
I had the agreements posted over my desk for years. The print-out moved with me from office to office and still lives in my at-home desk - too worn to hang anymore, but still worth seeing regularly. 

I cannot claim to live by any of these - certainly not to the degree I would like - but they are touchstones, and they are something I continue working towards. The one I struggle with the most consistently and feel the least progress with is the second agreement: Don't take things personally.

Today, I got sucked into defending myself against someone who dislikes me. You'd think that'd be a great exception to the "don't take things personally" rule, right? A direct jab from someone who has said (and shown) repeatedly that he doesn't like me seems like the epitome of personal. Only, the truth is that THAT'S NOT ABOUT ME. It's not personal. It's all about him.

His opinion of me is not my business. I wanted to be defended by other people, and knowing (assuming - see #3) there was no help coming I jumped in there and defended myself. I shrank to his size. And I've been stewing about it ever since. It sucks to be disliked (though he's certainly not the only one, and I'm okay with that). It hurts more not to be defended by those who do like me. But the only thing I can control is my response, and it's embarrassing to get sucked in. 

I'm a work in progress, and I'm learning to be more patient with that, but it's disheartening to have a day like today when my own ego proves to be as fragile as ever. I want to be the bigger person. I want to receive insults and jabs and feel compassion for the source of them. But, I'm just not there yet. Maybe I won't rehang the scarred and worn out mini-poster from 2001. Maybe I'll just save this  image as my screensaver so I see it before I go on social media. 

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