Relationships: Taking Things Personally


“”Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you,” – don Miguel Ruiz.


Alan and I have been discussing the issue of taking things personally. There’s a book called The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. The synopsis of the book is that we react to life situations based on agreements we made with ourselves and God. I haven’t read the whole book, but what I have read is very interesting.

No, more than that. I haven’t stopped thinking about what I read in the chapter entitled, “Don’t Take Things Personally”.

Throughout my life I’ve been told that I take things too personally. It’s always made me feel stupid. Less than. I hated it. I’ve often thought people don’t take things personally enough. But, see, I even took the observation of me that I take things too personally, personally.

I’ve come to realize that it’s one of those weaknesses I was blessed with. The kind that you know are given to you so that you can be tried, so you can overcome that weakness.  My divorce taught me the value of not taking things personally, but that was another situation. I guess it’s my marathon to run.

I also know that internalizing things is an attribute that helps me in good ways at other times. This knowledge causes me to tighten my grip on the whole “taking things personally” package. But it doesn’t have to be the whole package. I just need to loosen my grip.

Reading that chapter has been one of the most insightful things I’ve come across while learning about my role in Samantha’s life.

She was abandoned. First by her mother, then by an aunt, then by a grandmother, then by an aunt again. All of them women. Samantha doesn’t know how to have a mother/daughter relationship.

We’ve learned that it is because of her abandonment that I have and will continue to bear the brunt of Samantha’s anger. I fit the bill of “mother” now. Although she doesn’t know why she’s doing it, she primarily takes her anger out on me. She shows more respect to Alan. She tells him the truth quicker. She obeys him quicker. She has her moments with him, but not like she does with me. With me, she pushes and pushes and pushes. And I push back because I want to teach her, but we often get nowhere except Resentment Land.

After many a confrontation with Samantha I have asked myself questions like, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not the mother I thought I would be? She can’t get away with that. I hate the way she treats me…” and so on. I have felt like a mad woman and wondered why anyone would want to be my child.

It’s been five days since I read the chapter in The Four Agreements… and I GET IT! I get it because I have been chanting to myself, “Don’t take it personally” whenever a situation seems to call for it (Samantha or not). It works. Because it works I finally understand why I have felt like I’ve been going crazy for the past six months.  I’ve been in this little hole of exhaustion because I’ve given her behavior permission to put me there. She doesn’t mean to and I don’t mean to, but we get there.

I can see little changes happening. And not just with Samantha. Makes me wonder why the concept took so long to get here.

Just loosen your grip, Lynsie.

3 thoughts on “Relationships: Taking Things Personally

  1. Hang in there. Motherhood is tough. I think of you often and just want you to know you are in my prayers. have a great day lynsie.

  2. Can I just say that I love reading your blog? I always knew you were amazing, but I feel like I’m getting to know you all over again when I read your insights. You really are a very talented writer.

    Also loving this project that you are working on. Several months ago I came across the book (can’t remember it’s name off the top of my head) that your project is based on at DI. I bought it because my RS President is constantly referring to and quoting from it, but haven’t really looked at it since I bought it. It’s currently in storage, but once we get settled I am digging it out and digging into it! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thank you, Edith and Kacie! I’m so grateful for encouraging words.

      Kacie – That is so nice of you to say about my writing. I’m happy that you are reading my blog. Writing is a reward for me in itself, but to have others comment is always a boost. Thanks! Excavating… is a good book. Like any of the self-help books out there, some things in this book don’t ring “truth”, but it’s mostly goodness and praise-worthy. I hope you enjoy.

Your comments are the butter to my bread.

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