02 January 2010

The Four Agreements :

Agreement Two:
Don’t take anything personally
At the end of this instruction, you will be able to:
• Describe what “Don’t take anything personally” means to you
• Practice not “taking anything personally”
Nothing other people do or say is because of you. What people do or say is a result of their own
dream world. When we take things personally, we feel offended and react by defending ourselves,
creating drama.
It is important to understand that people may give compliments or criticism, but what they say is
about them and how they feel at that moment and about their own needs. What they say is not just
about you.
When we avoid taking words personally, we take away the power other people try to have over us.
We become immune to manipulation. If you refuse to take things personally, even if someone is
trying to draw you into their dream world and is being critical, you can remain peaceful.
When someone asks you to do something, listen intently and repeat what the person is asking. Don’t
take the request personally even if it is presented with criticism or with a compliment. You can
simply ask, “You would like to…” or “You want me to…” to clarify the person’s request. Be sure to
clarify if you correctly understand what someone is communicating to you.
Set limits by being impeccable with your word. Use your words to speak truth and to encourage
yourself and others. There are several techniques that can help:
Use “I” statements.
Don’t put yourself down.
Don’t use excuses or blame others.
Offer any possible alternatives.

Use this role playing scenario to practice not taking anything personally and to set limits.
As a consumer leader, you are asked to sit on a state level policy-making committee. You attend
several meetings where you are warmly greeted but your input is not asked for. In fact, you believe
your opinion is being ignored by the chair and other members of the committee. You are beginning
to feel like a “token consumer.” This is made worse by the fact that you seem to be the only
consumer on the committee. When you ask about this you find that there are two other consumer
appointees that don’t attend very often. When you talk to them, they don’t share your concern
about consumers being ignored.
How might you address this situation?
Remember: Use “I” statements to explain how you feel. Don’t put yourself down. Don’t use excuses
or blame others. Explain possible alternatives.