Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. Using an earlier example, if I see you on the street and I say, "Hey, you are so stupid," without knowing you, it’s not about you; it’s about me. If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you are stupid. Maybe you think to yourself, "How does he know? Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I am?"
Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.
Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds. Their point of view comes from all the programming they received during domestication.
It is not important to me what you think about me, and I don’t take what you think personally. I don’t take it personally when people say, "Miguel, you are the best," and I also don’t take it personally when they say, "Miguel, you are the worst." I know that when you are happy you will tell me, "Miguel, you are such an angel!" But, when you are mad at me you will say, "Oh, Miguel, you are such a devil! You are so disgusting. How can you say those things?" Either way, it does not affect me because I know what I am. I don’t have the need to be accepted. I don’t have the need to have someone tell me, "Miguel, you are doing so good!" or "How dare you do that!"
No, I don’t take it personally. Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, not with me. Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them.
You may even tell me, "Miguel, what you are saying is hurting me." But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way that I can take this personally. Not because I don’t believe in you or don’t trust you, but because I know that you see the world withdifferent eyes, with your eyes. You create an entire picture or movie in your mind, and in that picture you are the director, you are the producer, you are the mam actor or actress. Everyone else is a secondary actor or actress. It is your movie.
Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements