Hi – Kasi here. Everybody else is super busy right now, so I guess you get more of my esoteric ponderings. Sorry. 🙂
If you haven’t read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, it’s a book I highly recommend. We’re reading it now as a family, but it’s been awhile since I read through it, so I can’t really summarize it for you. Except to say that if you work on the program in the book by practicing the four agreements, your life will be a lot more enjoyable and manageable.
The four agreements are:
Always be impeccable with your word
Take nothing personally
Always do your best
Make no assumptions
The second one I’ve always found the hardest to manage. I mean, how can you not take some things personally, when they’re obviously meant to be personal?
But the more I thought about it and worked on it, the more I realized that even if they were meant personally, they’re still not personal. If someone says something hurtful to you–in anger or otherwise–it really says more about that person than about you.
I don’t remember if it was in that book or another one, but I read someplace that if you don’t take things personally, eventually they will stop being personal. I’ve spent a lot of time working on that (and have a lot more progress to make yet!) and I think that’s kind of true. If you refuse to let someone hurt your feelings, eventually they’ll stop trying.
Now, that’s not easy. When someone hurts me, my natural reaction is to protect myself. I mean, right? I tense up and start trying to think of clever and hurtful things to say back to them (like, “Oh, yeah? Well, you’re an asshole too!”). But that just makes everything worse, because they’re only hearing your attack on them, and they tend to be completely unaware of their attack on you. (And vice versa.)
The Course in Miracles says that when you defend yourself, you’re actually attacking. That goes along with the not taking things personally, I think. If you take something personally, you’re going to automatically defend, and that comes across as an attack to the other person. I think a good practice is to, whenever you feel attacked, stop and think about how that means you’re attacking back, even if you don’t think you are. (Because, believe me, the other person probably does!)
I’ve developed my own little system of when I feel like someone is attacking me, I imagine it as them throwing arrows at me. I then intentionally stop all my reactions and imagine myself turning into a mist, so that their arrows fly right through without sticking. If I defend myself, I see it as grabbing the arrows and throwing them back–which is an attack, and just makes the situation worse.
I know that might sound silly, but it’s been working pretty well for me so far. I’ve gotten a lot better at not being reactive and prolonging bad situations. Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings! I hope you all have a wonderful, prosperous day!