Don't Take Anything Personally
A woman I know (we’ll call her Jane) came to me one day because she was devastated to find porn magazines in her husband’s bathroom. Their sex life was not good, and apparently he spent a lot of time in the bathroom. As you can imagine, the woman felt very rejected. Her line of thought was, “He doesn’t want to sleep with me - he’d rather look at photos of random naked women in the bathroom?” And you might be thinking that she might be unattractive, or perhaps had gained a lot of weight since they got married. Neither was true. Jane is quite an attractive lady.
And you also might be wondering how it would be possible for her to not take that personally? Well, it is possible. Not easy, but possible. I tried to get her to see how maybe he’s just not a sexual person. Or maybe the only way he could get turned on was by looking at the magazines. Neither of those were comforting to her because it still didn’t change the fact that he didn’t want to have sex with her. But then I suggested: it’s most likely that is just the way he is and he probably acted like this with all his past girlfriends too. I reminded her that she couldn’t change him. Sure, she could have a conversation with him about it, but it may not change his behavior. All she could do is stop taking it personally. It’s not about her. It’s about him. And his unresolved issues.
So she needed to decide whether to make peace with who he is (without taking it personally) and continue in the marriage, or to move on. Jane eventually moved on. But, she did eventually get to the point where she realized that her husband’s behavior was not a personal rejection. In fact, many male friends of hers echoed my thoughts about how it’s not about her. The process of coming to terms with this did not happen overnight. However, it was a huge “AH HA!” moment for her. Jane realized that she could apply this philosophy (don’t take ANYTHING personally) to almost everyone else in her life. Once she did, her life became so much easier. It is so freeing when you realize that everyone has their issues. We all act the way we do, and would do it regardless of who we’re with. It’s human nature.
So listen to me very carefully: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY!!
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7/27/2013 04:12:47 am
Well said...and in perfect harmony with The Four Agreements!
7/27/2013 04:52:01 am
Thanks, Tom! What's funny, is that I actually wrote this before you gave me that book - I just hadn't published it yet! Synchronicity, huh? :)
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