Published by Rachelle Disbennett-Lee
Saturday, May 25, 2002


It Isn't About You

After attending an event with a friend, he mentioned that he didn't think I applauded very well. He advised that the way I clap makes it look like I am disinterested and maybe even jealous of the performers. Then he went on to tell me that it really was not important to him, but he didn't want other people to think me aloof.

First of all, if it weren't important to him, why would he even bring it up? Saying something like that is a cop out. When someone says something like, "I just don't want other people to think something negative" they are thinking something negative. It doesn't have to do with the other people. It has to do with that person and their judgments and opinions.

When my friend mentioned this to me, I wanted to defend myself, but most of all I wanted to prove him wrong. Luckily, I stopped myself before I wasted my time. Something about the way I clapped hit something within him. His opinion about the way I clapped had everything to do with him and nothing to do with me. Arguing about it was not going to change his mind or mine so there really was not a need for further conversation.

According to Don Miguel Ruiz author of the book, The Four Agreements, "Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. The truth is that person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions. That person tried to send poison to you and if you take it personally, then you take that poison and it becomes yours. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up." People do this a lot. Others will try to feed you poison by criticizing what you do. I have learned that when someone says something like that to me, it has to do more with their own insecurities, jealousies, and problems than it does with anything I am doing. There is no room for people like that in my life. If someone cannot be unconditionally constructive at all times, they are not allowed in my space. It may seem harsh, but I simply don't want to waste my life with people who cannot support me and be positive about what I am doing.


If you have not read The Four Agreements yet, do yourself a favor and read it. If you do not want to take the time to read the whole book, just read Chapter 3, The Second Agreement, Don't take anything personally. This concept has changed my life. I simply do not take what other people say to heart. I now know that what other people say about me tells me all I need to know about them. In addition, I have created boundaries around what I allow and what I do not allow others to say to me. For some people, these boundaries are about not even being in their presence. I simply cannot afford to have people in my life that do not support me.

The process of learning not to take anything personally can take time. Being criticized by others, especially those you love, is difficult. If someone in your life is critical, you owe it to your relationship to have a conversation with him or her and let that person know what you need. This may be difficult, but you are worth it. You deserve to have people in your life that are building you up, not tearing you down. You might even be surprised that they do not even realize that they are being critical. They may think they are helping you. Let them know how they can really help you and support them in being more positive and constructive with you. In the end, this will help them also because they will start to see where they are not being supported.

Are the people in your life supportive of who you are?

Daily Success Formula

Unconditionally Constructive = No Criticism


"All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism." North DeKalb

"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms." George Eliot

"Criticism, even when you try to ignore it, can hurt. I have cried over many articles written about me, but I move on and I don't hold on to that." Diana Ross

Coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee


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