Agreement, #2 of the Four Agreements, created by don Miguel Ruiz, says:
‘Don’t Take Anything Personally.’
Why we should not take anything personally is because “what others say and do is a projection of their own dream.”
The idea “not to take anything personally” is not at all original. Parents (including my own) say just about the same thing after mean kids at school followed their ‘own dreams’ to taunt other children in the schoolyard, leaving the kids with nightmares and traumatic memories:
Parent: “what those bullies say, says more about them, than about you!”
Well maybe some parents should have been on Oprah instead of don Miguel Ruiz, but nonetheless the kinds of things those mean bullies said have inflicted (full disclosure) very real pain for me, and others like me.
While ‘don’t take things personally’ may offer some temporary relief to the receivers of meanness, the concept of ‘don’t things personally’ gives license to mean people to be as mean as they please without having guilt in the process of being mean:
Now that we know that people shouldn’t ‘take things personally,’ we can:
– fire someone unjustly (he/she is a bad boss, don’t take it personally)
– be abusive (he/she is abusive, don’t take it personally)
– have an affair (he/she was feeling so stressed, don’t take it personaly)
– call someone a racist or homophobic name (he’s just a racist or homophobic, don’t take it personally)
– in fact, we can say anything we darn please, because, after all, it’s up to the other person to ‘not take anything personally.’
If there is pain inflicted, it’s because the receiver fails to ‘not take things personally,’ not that the mean person has been cruel, racist or in any way culpable for their cruelty.
It is noteable that the authority and evidence upon which don Miguel Ruiz’s axioms are based stem not only from his expertise as a former neurosurgeon, but also from his
“having survived a near fatal car accident where he ‘experienced himself in a state of pure awareness.”
To this ‘high level’ of ‘expertise’ I can only say “oy vey.”
Indeed, it is frightening to see how many intelligent and thoughtful individuals on ‘the path’ have wholeheartedly swallowed this made-up guidance in their efforts to become more enlightened and humanistic in their approach to other human beings.
What ‘don’t take anything personally’ does, in effect, is to give license to hurt whoever you want, whenever you want, as much as you want, and walk away, guilt free to hurt someone else.
No guilt, no problem, no pain.
Is this really the philosophy we want to follow in order to improve ourselves as kind and compassionate human beings?