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Agreement 2 - Don't Take Things Personally
Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally
“Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me’.”
— The Four Agreements, Chapter 3
Yes, taking things personally is all about ourselves; our ego. We think the world revolves around us and everything people do is specifically targeted to us.
How We Personalize
Ruiz believes that nothing other people say or do is because of us. It is because of themselves. How other people relate to us often depends on their mood, so if we base our self-image on how someone else treats us, we will most likely experience many difficulties. If we take things personally, we will be upset, insecure, and unhappy most of the time.
Personalizing Can and Will Destroy Relationships
This happens in relationships all the time. Let’s say you recently started dating someone who usually texts every day. One day, you get no text, so you automatically think you did something wrong. Did you say something to upset him/her? Did he/she meet someone else? You start to feel insecure and fill yourself with anxiety.
Ruiz explains, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their dream, in their minds; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we assume that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”
Why Do We Personalize
Personalizing keeps your focus outside of yourself, so it’s a great way of avoiding your feelings. It also works really well to confirm your own negative beliefs. You’re not doing any of this consciously; it is all on auto-pilot. The first step is to notice when it happens so you can catch yourself in the moment and shift your perspective.
Personalization Is Not About You
People are going to do and say whatever they want—you can’t control that. But you can control how you respond. According to Ruiz , “Whatever people do, feel, think or say, don’t take it personally… by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.”
First, write this down and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day: Don’t take anything personally.
When someone says something that I take personally, this is what I hear: (examples: I’m not good enough, I’m not lovable, I’ll always be single, )
When these negative beliefs come up, I feel: (examples: lonely, ashamed, belittled, angry, embarrassed, etc)How I would feel if I chose NOT to take things personally: (examples: light, confident, secure, relaxed, at ease, unburdened, happy, etc.)Jot these down in your journal without commentary or judgment. Use simple bullet points, writing down what happened and how you personalized. For example:
I was giving a presentation and someone walked out (what happened) - She hated my presentation and thought I was boring (how you personalized)My wife/husband reorganized the dishwasher again - She doesn’t think I can do anything rightNow, go back through each scenario and list three possible reasons for the action. Using the first example above, you might write:
I was giving a presentation and someone walked out (what happened)
She hated my presentation and thought I was boring (how you personalized) Possible Reason #1 - She had to urgently use the bathroom Possible Reason #2 - She double-booked herself and had to run to another meeting Remember: your perception of reality is based on your beliefs, and theirs is based on their beliefs. Neither is right /wrong, they are just different.
Agreement 1 - Be Impeccable with Your Word
The First Agreement - Be Impeccable With Your Word
Why is your word so important? Because, according to Ruiz, it is your power to create. “What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.”
It’s all connected, and what you say matters. This includes what we say to ourselves as well as what we say to others. Our inner voice is often the most destructive because it draws from our negative core beliefs: I’m not good enough, smart enough, worthy of love, deserving of happiness, etc.
So what does it mean to be impeccable with your word? From its Latin roots, it means “without sin,” which Ruiz goes on to explain:
“A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything. Being without sin is exactly the opposite. Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.”
Going Against The First Agreement
We go against ourselves all the time without realizing it. We say we want one thing, but then we do exactly the opposite. Because our subconscious wants to keep us safe, it will default to what is known and familiar, even if it’s painful and not at all what we want. It’s because we created it with our own thoughts, words, and actions.
When you blame others, you are not impeccable with your word. Angry words directed at someone else (whether they hear them or not), are angry words you use against yourself. They are a reflection of how you feel inside. It comes from a place of believing you are owed by this person rather than looking at where you let yourself down.
My Version Of The First Agreement: Speak Your Truth in Love
Speak your truth, Speak your truth but do it with love. Instead of hiding who you are and how you feel, express it openly and honestly. This can be scary for many of us because we’re afraid of being judged and rejected. If we can get thru the fear and move past the fear we will find the KEY to emotional freedom,, self-acceptance and a living an authentic life is all within the first agreement.
The First Agreement and our Co-Parenting Relationships
Finding ways to encourage, honor and respect the other co-parent, is only part of the way I am impeccable with my words. Work hard on not gossiping about the other co-parent or engaging in negative talk that only hurts and doesn’t help. Whenever I’m emotionally triggered, I am always willing to take responsibility no matter what! No unnecessary drama, blame, or tirades.
For the next week, pay attention to your words, both verbal and your internal dialogue. In your journal, jot them down. Write down when you were impeccable with your word and spoke your truth, and when you didn’t.
What is something you are hiding, which you may have shame around? What are your fears around expressing it to another person?When was the last time you said you would do something, but didn’t go through with it? Examples might include making plans to get together with someone, sending a thank you note, calling a parent or friend, etc. How did/do you feel by going against what you said you would do? Benefits? Is it a pattern of letting yourself down? Is it an opportunity to punish yourself because that’s something you’re used to? I suggest making two columns: one for times you were impeccable with your word and one for the occasions you didn’t. If you can, write it down in the moment! If you have trouble remembering to check in with yourself, set a reminder once or twice a day.
Again, it’s all connected. Choose your words carefully. They are more powerful than you think.
The Four Agreements - October Series
THE FOUR AGREEMENTS
By Don Miguel Ruiz
1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the
word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the
power your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a
projection of your own reality, their own dream. When you are
immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the
victim of needless suffering.
3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really
want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid
misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just the one
agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be
different when healthy as opposed to sick. Under any
circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid selfjudgment,
self-abuse, and regret.
10 Things To Do When Everything is Falling Apart
1. Take a break/Don’t be afraid to feel it/Write it out - Things have a way of working themselves out and once we lean into “letting go” typically things will work out. If you can write out what you are feeling when the world that's crumbling around you, this excercise will help you refocus and you will have a clearer picture of what's going on. Once you do, you can reassess the situation and figure out the best course of action.
2. Get support - Don't hesitate in asking for help, this means having to put your ego aside. Whether if it's getting some outside therapy, asking advice, having a friend to vent to, or just being around someone who's upbeat. Having a strong and positive support system is one of the best ways to feel positive and happy again. Studies have shown that positivity is contagious. So, make sure that your support system is optimistic and positive because these attributes will lift your spirits. At the same time, your support system needs to also include people who are honest - even if they can be harsh sometime.
3. Attempt something new/declutter - Changing things up or declutter will spark motivation and move you out of your comfort zone. Science has actually proven that when we try something new it triggers certain parts of our brain and releases the motivation chemical dopamine.
4. Make your goals visible/visualize your best day - Make your goals visible so you visually see what you're working toward and figure out how you'll achieve it. Writing down your goals also help you focus, train your brain to be more proactive, and it gives you peace of mind.
5. Focus on small things first -When your world is falling apart it can be easy to find plenty of little things you can fix. For example, if you're not happy with your weight, make small changes in your lifestyle like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
6. Speak and show positive affirmations - There may be no more of a powerful force than self-talk. If you keep reminding yourself how terrible everything thing is around do, do you really believe that you'll be motivated to do something about it? Regardless of the negativity going on around you, say out loud what you want to happen. Write down a daily affirmation and place it somewhere that you're going to see it, such as your bedroom or bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or computer monitor.
7. Take action/Don't mope - find something simple and set a goal, take action and this motion forward energy will create more energy to take action. Don't mope an wallow in your own pity.
8. Take a 20 minute nap - set your alarm and take a reset nap.
9. Be with other humans - The pandemic has changed everything, but if you feel safe to do so, visit a friend or sit in an outside café and be around other people and get out of your head for a little while.
10. Water & Sleep - drink lots of water, use lemon, lime, cucumber slice or orange slices for variety and go to be early.
Things I Avoid When Everything is going wrong.
· Sad music or nostalgic music,
· Social Media - comparison is a joy killer
· Complicated '"family" relationships or Negative People
· Alcohol or Medicating yourself with a depressant.
Some of the best advice I ever received was to stop trying to “fix” things when everything and just surrender to life. Life has a way of working itself out when we learn to let go. Focus on gratitude and breathe.
Uplifting our Daughters and Building Self-Esteem
1. Body Acceptance and modeling positive body image.
Mothers have a huge impact on their daughters’ body image. Think about how they will mimic our behaviors, Don’t ask, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” or obsess food or appearance. Things to do:
Appreciate all that your body can do. Write down what you love about yourself Beauty is more than skin deep Look at yourself as a whole person Wear clothes that make feel comfortable and work with your body not against.2. Make your daughter media literate
Become a critical viewer of social and media messages. Pay attention to images, slogans, or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body.
we spend more time than ever using media and everywhere we turn there are messages telling us how we should look that can make us feel less confident about our appearance. While we’re probably not going to use less media, we can protect our self-image and body confidence from media’s narrow body ideals that reinforce the appearance ideal.
3. Don’t raise her as a “people pleaser”
Encourage her to stand up for what she what needs and wants. Create opportunities for her to use her voice and to make choices. Ask her what she wants and then let her make a choice and then honor that choice. You as the parent should not be a people pleaser as children learn a lot from the same sex parent.
4. Start sports early
Research shows girls who play on teams have higher self-esteem. Studies have shown that girls that play sports have a much higher self-esteem than girls who do not.
5. Praise her for more than her appearance
Challenge yourself to match every compliment you give about your daughter’s appearance with at least two compliments about something non-appearance based, and do the same for other girls — your daughter’s friends, nieces, etc.”
7. Help her build skills that are independent of appearance
“Get her involved in activities that bring confidence, rather than focusing on looking good and acquiring things. “Sports, theater, music, art. Anything that can help girls express themselves through words or creativity or activity rather than through their appearance .
8. Praise efforts rather than performance
Focus less on the outcome and more on efforts and the development of new skills. Mastery is what builds confidence, and learning to rise above challenges builds resilience.
9. Don’t trash talk other women
Don’t let kids tease each other around food or looks.
10. Dads: Don’t treat your daughter like a damsel in distress
Fathers should not treat girls as though they are these fragile, helpless, little beings, When dads do this it teach their daughter your role is to look good so a man will sweep in and save you.. Instead, give her the opportunity and the tools—to change her own tire, to use her voice and speak up for herself, to play sports, to be able to brush herself off and get back up.
11. Listen and Pay Attention
Being a good listener means not offering judgments, criticisms or even advice. Simply hear what your child is saying and restate his or her comments to show that you're listening.
Single Parenting in Self Pity
1. Show Compassion to yourself first
Allow yourself to really feel what you are feeling. Be compassionate with yourself just as you would with a friend or your child. Ask for support if you need it.
2. Awareness of the pain of self-pity
Feeling sorry for yourself not only creates pain for you but it creates pain for others too. Not many people want to be around you if you are always down. Instead of seeing that as something else to feel hurt about, become aware of the pain you are creating for yourself.
No one can make you feel anything, only you control the way you feel.
3. NO VICTIM – refuse to be a victim
Victim mentality is typically the cause of self pitying behavior. It’s called the drama cycle and with this cycle we choose to blame someone or something else for the way we feel.
Decide that your relationships are too important and make a stand and refuse to be a victim.
4. Questions that keep you stuck
The question we as victims most often ask themselves is “Why?”
“Why is this happening to me?”
“Why did she do that?”
“Why did he say that to me?”
These are low quality questions and with these questions you will receive low quality answers. For example;
“Because you’re not good enough..”
“Because he doesn’t like you”
“Because she doesn’t truly value your friendship.”
Any question beginning with “Why” will keep you stuck in your current situation feeling like a victim. Decide to NEVER use the word “Why” from your vocabulary and replace it with words like “What”, “How” and “When”.
“What can I do to get a different outcome?”
“When will I contact her and explain how I feel?”
“How can I change the situation?”
As you change the quality of your questions, you will see empowered you will feel.
5. Perception and your responsibility
If we have consistently see things in a negative way, it’s likely we will continue to do so unless we bring awareness to the table.
Our perception creates our reality and by changing our viewpoint, we are able to change any experience. Take responsibility for the way you are viewing a situation and challenge yourself to see it in a different way.
6. Be courageous
It takes courage to hold up the mirror and look at our part in things, but this is the only way to make real change. This is because we only ever have complete control and influence over ourselves.
Holding up the mirror doesn’t mean beating yourself up for your mistakes. This is just another form of self pity. As you make these changes, you will notice your self-pity decrease and self-empowerment increase.
7. Acknowledging the positive things in your life.
The fastest way to turn this around is to make it a practice to regularly focus on the good. You may have heard this before and that’s because it’s true. Keep a gratitude journal.
8. Noticing others that have it worse.
With all the events and the pandemic happening in our world right now, it’s easy to find examples of others less fortunate. This is comparison used in a positive way.
Instead of feeling wrapped up in your own world, look for ways you can help others.
Contributing to others is one of the fastest ways to start feeling good and taking your attention away from yourself. This is good for you and good for others. And you will notice your self-confidence and empowerment soar.
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This podcast is such a great resource across a multitude of areas - co-parenting, adoption, step-parenting, cross cultures...
Deborah is lovely to listen to, it feels like sitting down and having a chat with a girlfriend. I love her authenticity and the perspective she brings to the table. Excited for future episodes!
Letting Go of Anger Post Election
Oh my goodness! I so needed this podcast today. I am so devastated and angry with the people in this country and the inherent racism, sexism and bigotry that exist. I am going to work through your steps, because not only well forgiveness help me personally in the healing of my soul, but I know it will help me be a better parent through these tough times.
Not to mention, your soothing voice was like a meditation for me. Thanks so much friend!
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