The premise of Miguel Ruiz's book The Four Agreements is that "everything we do is based on agreements we have made [...] but the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves". There are simply stated as follows:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
2. Don't Take Anything Personally.
3. Don't Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.
In a later book there is a Fifth Agreement from the author!
5. Be Skeptical, But Learn to Listen.
That's a good one too. I have not read this book though.
I think these statements and Ruiz's examination of their application to life are a good foundation for someone who is trying to "do the hard inner work" of becoming a better person from the inside. The people I trust live these principles.
I feel I have been pretty good about all them except the second one. It's the one I have to revisit when I am calming myself down after feeling rage after experiencing some inconvenience or perceived sleight against me. It is perhaps ironic that what sets me off is when I see people not practicing the four agreements with me by being dishonest, evasive, overly personal, jumping to conclusions, or cutting corners in our interaction. Bad documentation? VIOLATION OF 1, 3, and 4!!! Sri ANGRY now! 😅
On Taking Things Personally
In situations when someone's lack of conscientiousness or caring leads to a bad situation, I do take that personally. I think of it as an affront to me, though really it's an affront to some kind of principle that I hold. If I see the effort was there, it's not a problem. But if it's someone trying to weasel out of a situation or exploiting the situation, then I take that personally.
I think that the expression "taking things personally" means thinking that a situation is about them when it really isn't. I think I can rationalize and live with that, though I do think that in the cases where someone's negative thoughts about me are clear this does create an anxiety response. My nervous system seems to be on high alert for these situations and expects it to happen regularly. This is a challenge. I should reread the book again.