Definitely Offended

I recently read this quote:

"Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… 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…Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. 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…." - Miguel Ruiz

I realized I was letting poisonous relationships wreck my confidence awhile ago. I was offended by things that had nothing to do with me. I took a lot of things personal. (Like if someone didn't call for awhile, or didn't text back, or walked past me without speaking, or didn't invite me.) I had a huge chip on my shoulder for a long time. I was Definitely Offended by what people said and did.

I recently began to work through the reasons why I was blaming myself for issues that were obviously not my fault. I remembered a time when my father told me, "Remember, it's your fault. It's always your fault." I'm not sure if that statement was in the context of something else... but that's the only part I can remember now. I think that resonated with me, and I carried it with me into my adult life. It ate me up. I took it personal. 

Now I can think back to many situations that I took personally, and I can see how none of them had anything to do with anything that I had done. I blamed myself for so many things, not thinking that the other person or people involved might have had some part in what was happening. The horrible names people called me, the time my apartment got robbed, or the time my car got broken into, or the time my tires got slashed. The time the manager at Del Taco hired me after he fired my friend, and she got mad with me. Or when that same manager fired me, a week later, and hired yet another friend of mine. That time I didn't make the SU track team. All those boys that broke up with me because of "this" or "that", or whatever. That time I wound up homeless for 6 months, or that time I didn't have formula for my son, and nobody would take me to the store. (Wait, that part was probably my fault, but I'll get to that later.) That time I was accused... and accused... and that other time I was accused. That time I was told that I would never amount to anything, that I would never be a good nurse, or that I was a horrible teacher...

You mean to tell me none of that was because of me?

What a relief! And I also understand that none of the positive things that were said or done to me were because of me either, and that's a relief as well. Less pressure to be this magical being that doesn't exist. I'm only human. One mortal human.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I've totally rid myself of any and all guilt and shame that I've ever felt just by reading one quote. It's a long process. But I will tell you that I am inspired and empowered by the notion that I cannot and do not control what other people do; that I can only react to those things. And how I choose to react will determine how happy I am. I'm learning how to not get offended. - ND