I hope you are enjoying reading A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, A Toltec: The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz with the Darren Kavinoky Book Club. It’s the kind of guide to life that is worth keeping bedside to call upon again and again.
In Chapter 3 “The Second Agreement,” don Miguel Ruiz asks us to reflect on how we let others affect the opinions we carry about ourselves. It can be a dangerous road to travel down if you stop to take in the judgements of others. It’s the age old question, until a man has walked in your shoes… how does he know what it is like to be you?
Taking Things Personally
What is on your plate is an accumulation of a lifetime journey. Most of us, if we are being honest, have both excelled at being humane and failed at times. If you only take in the harsh criticism at your weakest moments and define yourself by your failures, then you exclude the most important part about yourself: the part that deserves praise. Every time you display the inner strength to rise up in the face of temptation, to hike the hill when you could instead skate down the slippery path that is the true telling of your character.
Ruiz says, “You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said.” The root of this Ruiz believes is a result of a selfishness inside of us that makes everything about “me.” To this extent, we may all have a bit of a narcissistic tendency to relate what we hear, learn and know back to our own lives. However, there is a difference between hearing, agreeing and internalizing AND hearing, agreeing and transforming.
If you’ve done wrong, learn from it. Grow from it. But when you’ve done well, hear that praise too. Let it counterbalance the critical voice inside your head.
It can be difficult not to take things personally. And sometimes it is about walking away from negative influences and voices. We can surround ourselves with positive guidance and reject the urge to dwell in the dark and absorb the negative.
The best illustration of this is in Ruiz’s words, “The way you see that movie is according to the agreements you have made with life. Your point of view is something personal to you. It is no one’s truth but yours.”
If you take anything away from The Second Agreement, it should be this: your life is your movie. What will you make of it? What is your movie? What is your plot? Who are the characters that you have written onto your big screen? Even if the ending is unknown, what choices will your main character make to carry forward in the face of all of life’s obstacles?
I would love to hear your responses about your movie and how you are writing your life’s script. You can upload a YouTube or Vimeo video of your answer, or post your answer to FB or Twitter. But please tweet me a link and remember to hashtag them #DKBookClub.
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