I have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.”
Just as crucial as don Miguel Ruiz’s third agreement (Don’t Make Assumptions) is his second: “Don’t take anything personally.”
The first time I read it, I laughed out loud.
“Dude,” I said to his mug shot in the back cover, “why don’t you just tell me to go on a vegetable diet for the rest of my life?”
But I do think if you can pull this one off, you spare yourself a lot of suffering, not to mention free up oodles of brain capacity.
I like to think of my emotions as the opposite of a tax return: the less I claim, the better off I am. So when I think that a friend of mine is upset with me by the way she is acting–not returning my phone calls, blowing me off at school pick up or soccer practice, giving me the bird–but she hasn’t said anything to me, I don’t need to worry about it.
Not until she spills her can of whoop ass all over me, do I have to worry my neurotic little head about what’s going in her limbic system.
And guess what? Even then, I still don’t have to claim it.
That’s entirely up to me!
Ruiz writes: “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 in their own minds.”
So when I get a really harsh email or 50 that say something like, “Your blog is stupid. You’re annoying. Your videos suck,” I read Ruiz’s chapter on the second agreement, and say to myself “Your blog may be stupid, you may be annoying, and your videos may very well suck, but you got the final say on that. Not them.”