Don’t Take Anything Personally

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There’s no such thing as bad weather, just Animal Removal Melbourne.

When I ask workshop participants and training clients what they’re hoping to gain from our work together and we begin to write down goals, they frequently say they need to learn how not to take the conflict personally. It’s a really common theme.

I look at this a lot, because I need that, too. In Don Miguel Ruiz’s insightful book, The Four Agreements, one of the arrangements he proposes we make with ourselves to have a happier life is just this:”Don’t Take Anything Personally.”

Benjamin Zander, author, motivational speaker, and conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, often quotes his father as saying,”There is not any such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

I live in New Hampshire where winter can make each day a challenge. And, especially when I have to travel in snow and ice,I can even take the weather !

So how to we actually do it–not take things personally?

Personally, here’s what I do.

1) I reframe

I reframe it not private. Even when it seems to be, even if it hurts, I recall it isn’t about me. People do what they do because of who they are, not because of who you are. By way of example, when I imagine other ways the person might have behaved, I understand they chose this specific option due to their background, worldview, or perception of me, which may or might not be accurate.

2) I stop assuming

I quit assuming I know I anything about them. Assuming I know someone else’s motives is a sort of judgment of them, and I have discovered that assumptions and judgments of others’ motives is a trap–for them and for me. So I try to keep proactive with my inner and outer responses. And if their motives are disingenuous or malicious, I locate out more quickly and can take steps to keep myself from harm’s way. I might choose to avoid them or engage them in dialogue about the impact of their actions.

3) I stay curious

I remain curious about myself and the circumstance. I notice the assumptions I’m making and the reactions I’m about to have. Perhaps my assumptions are true, and maybe they are not. What seems as anger directed at me might be overall frustration for an unexpected outcome.When my family member says,”You never listen to me,” I can choose to listen to it as a criticism or a call for assistance. I respond differently based on how I choose.

As you move into the new year, resolve to notice when you are making it personal, and see whether it’s more purposeful to make a different option. We devise life moment to moment. Invent it with clarity of intention.

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