In keeping with my new blog theme of posts on meditative thoughts, I’m using this one today: “Don’t take things personally.” If you’ve ever read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, “The Four Agreements,” you know that it’s one of the four agreements he suggests so we can live with less stress and more joy in our lives. I’m preparing to write a longer blog post on feedback in general, so I thought I’d start with this idea as a meditation.
We live in a world that is full of feedback. If you’re old enough (like me) to remember a time before social media, you know how it felt to live in a world where feedback was primarily given in person, over the phone or maybe through email. But now, we have all sorts of electronic ways to provide feedback and receive it. One has to wonder if this is a positive thing, but in any event, the reality is we all can control our reactions to feedback. In fact, our reactions are ALL we can control because we can’t control the other person.
To take things personally is to take them to heart. As Don Miguel Ruiz says, “who knows what is happening in the mind of the person giving the feedback when it’s given.” I try to remember this any time I get feedback that upsets me. I try to stop, take a deep breath and think about the other person. Where might this be coming from? Does their tone or body language have to do with me or with them? Oftentimes, if I can stop even for a second or two, I can come back into my body and tone down my reactions.
My personal mantra for this week is not to take things personally. Does this theme resonate with you?