Orlando Scandrick Jersey It’s not personal! | www.LdsCoaching.com
  It’s not personal!
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It’s not personal!

Recently, I've been reading (for the second time) the best-selling book "The Four Agreements," by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is an inspiring book based on ancient Toltec wisdom. It offers a "code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness and love." Certainly, these are things most of us would like to experience in life.

The Four Agreements are as follows:

  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don't take anything personally
  • Don't make assumptions
  • Always do your best

Obviously, all four of these agreements -- once embraced -- can be of great benefit in our lives. What I have been really intrigued by, however, is the second agreement: don't take anything personally.

It's not as easy as it sounds. Try going one day without taking anything personally, regardless of what people around you say or do. We're conditioned from early on to defend our opinions and try to prove that we are right. We might get offended easily.

That's why one of my favorite talks is Elder David A. Bednar's "And Nothing Shall Offend Them" (October 2006 general conference). In it, he states the following:

When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.

How much better would our lives be if we realized this simple principle: that anything people say or do to us is actually a reflection of themselves, not of us. If someone cuts us off in traffic, then honks and makes an obscene gesture on top of that, how will we react? If we get offended, it will ruin our peace of mind for the moment, if not the rest of the day, as we mull over and over again in our mind the actions of that "evil" driver!

If, on the other hand, we realize that this particular driver must be having a really bad day, that the problem is his and no offense is taken, we are free! We might even be prompted to say a prayer on his behalf. Honestly, when was the last time we had such a magnanimous reaction?

A couple of years ago, I was having "one of those days" and must have been particularly cranky towards my youngest son. He didn't get offended, mad or upset. Instead he very sweetly said, "Daddy, do you need a hug?" It was so disarming and wonderful at the same time. In an instant my mood was transformed as he gave me the biggest little hug he could. Is that not the ultimate example of "becoming as a little child"?

As we embrace this principle of not taking anything personally, we free ourselves and experience that elusive peace of mind that comes by being loving to all. It reminds me of that favorite Primary song that states "I know who I am. I know God's plan."

Having a true knowledge of who we are can make it much easier for us to avoid getting defensive or offended by others. When we know who we are and what God's plan is for our lives, we will not be defined by what those around say to us or about us, good or bad.

Next Tuesday: What to do with the positive things people say about us