In the last post I introduced the first of four agreements from The Four Agreements, “Be impeccable with your word” and shared ways to apply this agreement to life with migraine. I hope you have taken the opportunity to put some of these ideas into practice.
Now let’s take a close look at the second agreement, “Don’t take anything personally” and discover how this can improve the quality of our lives with migraine. It can be freeing to let go of what others say and do. Unfortunately, letting things get to us is human nature. It takes practice and determination to become immune to the stinging remarks others make about us. Here is what the author has to say about this agreement:
|“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” – Don Miguel Ruiz|
Let’s examine a few ways we can learn to avoid taking even the nastiest comments personally.
Be immune to the opinions of others
Whatever others think or believe is all about them, not about you. Just because someone says it doesn’t make it true. Their opinions can tell you a lot about them and nothing about you. To embrace another’s opinion about you as truth is inviting unnecessary suffering into your life. Immunize yourself against such infectious poison by ignoring what others think of you.
Refuse to eat emotional poison
When you believe the ugly things others say about you, their words act like an emotional poison on your spirit. You internalize their message and begin to behave as if it were true. Don’t let others define you in negative ways that aren’t really true. Only accept feedback from others that is based in fact and wrapped in love from people who care about you and understand what you are going through.
See other people as they are
What other people think, say, and do will help you discover who they really are. By focusing on what you can learn about them, it’s easier to ignore their opinions about you. Recognize that their need to spread such poison has nothing to do with you. Then you will be unfazed when they say you are faking it, accuse you of causing your migraines, or call you crazy. These comments are just a reflection of who they really are. This understanding will protect you from the damage of their opinions.
Even what you say to yourself might not be true. Don’t take your self-talk personally if it is not from a place of love and respect. Ignore your inner critic when she tries to blame you for your pain.
Love and respect yourself
You are responsible for yourself, not anyone else. You get to make the choices about your health care and lifestyle. No one else can really do that for you. You deserve a compassionate, competent doctor. You deserve understanding loved ones. You deserve to have your pain appropriately managed. Anything less is unacceptable. By insisting on this, you show that you love and respect yourself. Unsupportive people are a blessing when they walk away. Likewise, you have no need to treat others badly in order to feel better about yourself.
For discussion: What’s the hardest thing someone has ever said to you about migraine? How might the practice of this agreement impact that statement?