I have been working so much I have hardly had any time to think. At my old horrible job I had plenty of time to think, a fine example of that old adage - you don't know what you have until its gone. But I am trying to balance my time better and I did do some thinking this morning. A friend of mine turned me onto a wonderful book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.
One of the agreements I have found to be very difficult is the one about not taking things personally. And when it comes up in conversation, many of my friends find this difficult too. I have been thinking about this a lot. And I now believe it is because we are such individuals in our culture. We are supposed to be independent and for the most part work alone and succeed on our own. But this agreement to not take things personally requires us to be a community and to be thoughtful and aware of others and to simply get outside of ourselves. It also requires us to be confident and strong in our knowledge that who we are, what we do and how we behave is right. And we all know how very difficult that can be.
I think feeling criticized is the same as feeling hurt in our culture. But no one wants to hurt anyone else, really. When criticism comes my way I find it helpful to remind myself from where it comes, but not in a defensive way, in a responsive way. I think to myself, this person is feeling something that is having them say or do something that is seemingly hurtful to me, but I know it is not meant to be. I figure that they are in the midst of something that is making them feel less confident or insecure and I do my best to agree with them and say something that may be helpful in strengthening their soul. I certainly don't have this all figured out, or am I able to be confident and kind all the time. Basically I believe we all struggle so much, every moment, I wish we could all help each other more and try to remember what is really pertinent.