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Time for #2

Don't Take Anything Personally

By Judey Kalchik Published 22 days ago Updated 22 days ago 4 min read
Top Story - May 2024

This is the second article on my review of the ideas in The Four Agreements. Here's the first article:

I knew that I'd move forward with this series, but I put it off as Agreement #2 is a big stumbling block for me. I'd like to say I decided to get out of my own way and thus wrote this, but that isn't the truth. (Since Agreement #1 is to Be Impeccable with Your Word I surely need to own up to that)

The truth is that there has been a social media remarking on Memorial Day post shared over and over again the last two days. The post was made by one of the U.S. past presidents. I'm not sharing a screen shot or a link, just quoting the first sentence:

screen shot from yahoo! news

Agreement #2: Don't Take Anything Personally

Taking things personally can also be described as 'personal importance' and reflects one's assumption that 'everything is about me'. A person reveals that core belief by the things they do and say.

That's why this snippet kept jiggling my thoughts. (And, it's easier for me to find faults with others instead of using me as the only example. No worries: I'll do that, too.)

This social snippet starts out with an incongruous but pervasive "Happy Memorial Day", which is surely a symptom of the commercialization of calendar days, ignoring the actual reason the day is set aside at all. That symbolic show quickly morphs into a screed of wounded words, beginning with the appalling 'Human Scum' and devolving into a list of personal injustices perceived by the former president.

It had, other than the Hallmark moment that started the post: nothing to do with Memorial Day. It was, instead, an effective example of someone that takes things Personally.

Taking Things Personally is an Impediment

Not taking things personally doesn't mean you have a low sense of self or no personal power. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

The things others say and do is about them, not about you. Ascribing other's thought, words, and actions to be either against you or for you is giving them power over you. And that power is non-existent.

Regardless of the words of others you are still the same you. Being called brilliant and brave is nice, but it doesn't MAKE you brilliant or brave. You are the same person regardless of what others say.

When we choose to take the words and actions of others as directed towards us, we react, defend, and engage in conflict. Conflict is not the way towards growth. Conflict actually causes suffering, emotional and physical wounds, and stalls growth and connection.

Trauma and Agreement #2

Those with unrealized familial trauma can get hooked by this Agreement: out whole lives have revolved around looking towards others for approval, correction, and validation. The words they said to us matters, because following those words could keep us safe. Safe both emotionally and physically.

We learned that we were 'clumsy' or 'the prettiest'. We were 'the smart one' or the one 'that's just too slow'. We believed them when they said we were a 'drama queen', 'class clown', 'jock', 'sneaky', 'a cuddle bunny', or 'just not good at math'.

Taking those words personally was part of our childhood, and internalizing those descriptions may have become the scripts we use today when we coach ourselves during times of decision and stress. Taking those words personally became our truth.

As children of trauma we may have reconciled the abusive behavior of others towards us as something we deserved, something we brought on ourselves through our own actions. Children understand abuse as less terrifying when they can 'make it make sense', even at the cost of making themselves responsible for it by taking it personally.

That learned behavior can be unlearned. Those scripts can be replaced by the now-adult with the truth: abuse is about the anger and fear of the abusers, not the abused.

Key Takeaways of Agreement #2: Don't Take Anything Personally

  • What people say is more about them, their frame of mind, emotions, personality; than it is about you.
  • Don't rely on others to validate who you are. Know yourself.
  • When you find yourself caught up in the need to be 'right', protesting the words of others: let it go. Let it go is more than a Disney song, it's the way towards true emotional freedom.
  • When you find the right thing to say or do, then say or do it. Truth may not be recognized or receive approval, but that is not your problem.
  • As writers, write your truth regardless of the number of reads it receives, the depth of the comments, or amount of recognition. If you know it is good: IT IS GOOD.

This quote from the book came to me when reading the 'Happy Memorial Day' post:

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….

But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.

    May we all make use of this gift.
    You may enjoy the complete book, but might also appreciate a small pocket version filled with soundbites for your consideration. This link is to the pocket version on the website It's a good alternative to buying on @m@zon, and donates a portion of sales to indie bookstores. I am not an affiliate of this website and do not receive any profits if you buy using it.


                About the Creator

                Judey Kalchik

                It's my time to find and use my voice.

                Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

                You can also find me on Medium

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                Reader insights


                Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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                Comments (20)

                • Kayleigh Fraser ✨12 days ago

                  Really great advice and wisdom in here! Thanks for sharing Judey 🌟😇

                • Fantastic writing.

                • Jasmine Whitmore20 days ago

                  Congratulations on the top story!

                • robert1997b21 days ago

                  Your insights into the impact of personal importance and the potential for social media to amplify messages that may not align with the intended spirit of certain observances, like Memorial Day, are thought-provoking. It’s clear that you’re considering how these broader societal behaviors can influence individual perceptions and reactions.

                • Anu Mehjabin21 days ago

                  Congratulations on your top story.💝💝💝 Your analysis of Agreement #2 is spot-on! Love how you emphasized the importance of not taking things personally and prioritizing inner validation. Keep sharing your insightful reflections!

                • Ameer Bibi21 days ago

                  Love the insights Truly commendable Don't take anything personally

                • Sasi Kala21 days ago

                  Congrats top story!

                • Cathy holmes22 days ago

                  Another great article. Everything you say here makes complete sense. Sometimes it's hard to put into practice, but that doesn't make it any less correct.

                • The Dani Writer22 days ago

                  I've read this and have the cards. Good one Judey! Glad that it was top-storied. Congrats!

                • angela hepworth22 days ago

                  Super important insights here about violence and trauma. Congratulations on your Top Story!

                • Jay Kantor22 days ago

                  'Jk' ~ As a Proud American Veteran - It's hard not to take things personally ~ 'Jk'

                • As always, you have your finger on the pulse. Great advice Judey. Congrats on your top story

                • Christy Munson22 days ago

                  Congratulations on Top Story! 🥳 Insightful advice. I LOVE the key takeaways from #2. Powerful reminders. And yes, don't get me started on how moronic it is that anyone would wish anyone else a "Happy Memorial Day." That sentiment is appalling. Sounds just like, "Be sure to enjoy the death of your loved one." I'm looking forward to checking out #1, and #3, and #4, when the time comes. Thanks for sharing!!

                • I don’t want to take things personally because if I want my books out there, I need to be ready for disappointment or disapproval from readers or critics. I feel you made very valid arguments here and excellent points about trauma

                • Nice work. Congrats.

                • shanmuga priya22 days ago

                  Congratulations 🎉. Really interesting.

                • Excellent informative piece, I will check out the book further

                • Shirley Belk22 days ago

                  Very good way to look at life

                • Gerard DiLeo22 days ago

                  "Happy Memorial Day" is an oxymoron. The poster is just a moron.

                • Babs Iverson22 days ago

                  If you know it's good, it's good!!! Awesome analysis!!!❤️❤️💕 Especially loved your words, "abuse is about the anger and fear of the abusers, not the abused."

                Judey Kalchik Written by Judey Kalchik

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