More and more, as I give my live conference “Rise Above Your Mind”, people have come up to me with a ‘between you and me’ question.
“Antonia,” they say, “I know you talk about not taking things personally but,
between you and me, do you really believe in the whole notion of not taking things personally?”
It’s a question which I felt should be shared and observed together with anyone who has ever asked themselves, “Where’s the line between whether or not an action, a behavior or a situation, should be taken personally?” Our response will influence the decisions and actions we take and determine whether we are our own best friend or worst enemy.
As I share my personal response to this ‘between you and me’ question, try observing it for yourself in your own terms.
I remember the painful, long years before I finally took the decision to make a major leap in my life. During that time, I lived in constant conflict between what my mind was telling me and what my inner, deepest part of myself really wanted to do.
I was educated and raised with the belief that success in life was defined by having a good paying job, a big house and accumulated possessions. So, having accomplished all this, when I spoke to people about making a change, their response was along these lines, “Are you CRAZY? You’ll end up losing everything. You don’t know a thing about starting your own business, what if it doesn’t work out?” These were people I admired, respected and considered knowledgeable, so, I trusted and followed their advice. These thoughts became my own internal dialogue with myself. Every time I found myself wondering about making a change, a sensation of excitement would arise. I remember there being a brief gap between that sensation and the moment my mind would interrupt and start chattering, “Forget it! It’s never going to happen. You’re too old to start over. It’s true, you know nothing about starting an on line business. It’s too much of a risk and you will end up losing everything.” I realize now, I was seeking their approval and validation and believing I was the person they believed of me.
One day, after a long talk, my mom said something that switched on a light bulb deep inside. She said, “I only want what’s best for you. I’m trying to protect you from living a hard life with constant struggles, misery and poverty like I did. You don’t know what that’s like. I was raised in it. We were six kids living in a tiny house while my dad was at war. It happened very often that all we had to eat was a piece of bread and an onion.”
OMG! She was talking through her own fears and experiences!
They all were!
I had taken their fears and experiences and made them my own. It had now become the way I saw myself and what I believed about myself. I had become my worst enemy.
That day, when I looked in my mom’s eyes and saw the memory of her past filled with fear and suffering, it hit me. All their opinions had NOTHING to do with me at ALL! It had NOTHING to do with the way things would work for me. It was not about me, it was about them.
When I gained this awareness and stopped taking what others’ said or did personal, I was finally able to pay attention to my own negative thoughts and self-sabotaging dialogue and stand up to them. I began to question, “How is this thought helping me right now? Ok, so, what do I need to learn, need to know and do to make this happen?” I became my best friend.
It has been quite a journey so far…
Having lived in several different countries across South America among different cultures, has broadened my awareness that people’s actions, decisions, opinions are entirely based on their own life experiences, their background, their upbringing, their memories, their relationships, their accumulated knowledge and most importantly, their own fears. That’s ok. I have my own. Through this awareness, I have come to know that by living through my own experiences, instead of focusing on what others believe, is what will allow me to live a life true to myself.
I will say this; it is still something I continue to practice. Only this time, when a certain situation or person stirs up a negative emotion inside, I allow myself to take a few deep breaths, feel the emotion without putting thought into it. This helps to release the negative emotion and move forward with a higher source of wisdom and power in changing how I experience these situations to continuously become a better version of myself. Every situation or actions from others, now becomes a mirror that allows me to see and discover myself deeper.
I can now answer the question,
“Between you and me, do you really believe the whole notion of not taking things personally,” with a firm NO.
I don’t believe. I KNOW it to be true.
But, it’s my truth through experiencing the difference it has made in my life.
How about you? Do you believe in the whole notion of ‘Not taking Things personally’?