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 Post subject: NEVER take things personally?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:23 pm 
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So, I am trying to be on the "bandwagon" with the four agreements and I think that they all generally make sense, but I usually get hung up whenever someone says "never" or "always."

Is it really true that we should NEVER take things personally, that is, we should assume that a person's feelings are NEVER about us?

The reason I'm asking this is because I know for a fact that, for whatever reason, I have done some very hurtful things to some people I care about very much. When they express how hurt they are by what I've done, am I not supposed to interpret it as having something to do with me, or what I've done?

I guess what I'm saying is that while I understand the idea that we shouldn't "take it personally" when other people are experiencing emotions, I start to get a little lost when the suggestion is made that those emotions have NOTHING to do with us; that seems to completely fly in the face of the idea that we have to own the consequences of our actions. I'm not sure I understand how to make the distinction between these two ideas. Help on that would be useful since right now I am really struggling with how to effectively interpret the reactions that my friends have to my own behavior.

Sincerely,
Ravens


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 Post subject: Re: NEVER take things personally?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:39 pm 
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Hmm... I see your point. I would say, that with most things there are exceptions, but I'm no expert.


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 Post subject: Re: NEVER take things personally?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:36 pm 
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I am trying to grasp these concepts and I interpret it like this:

I am only responsible for what I do and say.

I am not responsible for what other people do and say.

Their reactions and actions will differ as that is their context - their journey.

If I have said something that hurts them or done something that hurts them, I can only apologise and resolve to do better.

If they choose to not accept my apology or stay with me in this battle - I cannot take that personally.

If people choose to attack me with their words or actions, that is their choice.

Other people's actions and words are a reflection of them, not me.

That's how i interpret it.

I found it easier to grasp after looking at "separation of stuff" on this website, because I can visualize where "I" start and they begin.

Does that make sense?


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 Post subject: Re: NEVER take things personally?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:47 am 
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Hello,
It strikes me that we seem to struggle with dealing with emotions so much...that it is a minefield to be negotiated. And all the time we weigh things up in our heads...am i doing the right thing or am i doing the wrong thing.

My experience and I am in my mid forties now is that I have gotten better with practice. I remember when I was younger I found it very difficult to disentangle my emotions. Were things all my fault..or were they someone elses? I had no confidence to believe that sometimes I was right and should be assertive about that. On the other hand sometimes I would go completely over the top and alienate others with my reaction. It is tricky.

I feel at this time in my life that it is important to be kind...to myself and to others..at least as best as i can. Practice in dealing with emotions will bring more skills. We cant be too hard on ourselves.

Take care,
smithan


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 Post subject: Re: NEVER take things personally?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:04 am 
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Thanks for your perspectives, everyone. I'm really trying my best. One of the reasons that I am so wary about these things is that I have seen people use things like "Don't ever take things personally" to justify and rationalize their own abusive behavior, as in, "You shouldn't take it personally when I behave this way." I'm sure that the point of this program is not to make people into limp noodles who just roll over and take whatever is handed to us, and I'm also sure that the point is not to turn us into extremely talented manipulators, but as I have seen people using the tools of DBT to do just that, I am extremely cautious about how we can most effectively interpret these tools to avoid those pitfalls.

For example, one of the biggest difficulties I have with this particular agreement is the corollary point "when you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." I really don't understand how "immunity" to the opinions and actions of others is supposed to make us more likable or more compassionate. I understand I may be nitpicking here, but I'm really just trying to make sure I understand. Because what I am reading here sounds to me like "You shouldn't even listen to other people about anything, especially not about yourself." I assume this can't be right, because other people are often the best source of information about things you might be doing wrong; for example, if you have hurt someone else with your words or actions, you will probably never know unless they say or do something to signal it to you. But if you are truly "immune" to those opinions and actions, then you won't learn!

It is a troubling suggestion to me because in my mind, the progress of the world hinges on people being willing to be open to the opinions and actions of others. If we shut ourselves off to those influences, how will we ever have our minds opened, our worldviews challenged, our souls encouraged to grow? I do apologize if that point seems unfair or prejudiced, I recognize that not everyone shares these particular values and that this is not the place to debate such things, but as those are things that I value I am wondering how they gel with the above stated agreement.

My best guess is that "immunity" is talking about "not being hurt." That is, you hear what people say and opine, and you pay attention to what they do, and you think critically about all of those things without being hurt by them; does that sound about right to people? Even still, I'm not sure if it works. Shouldn't we feel some pain if we have done something wrong, harmed someone we care about? Is the idea then that we feel "needful" suffering through our own decision to accept remorse in our hearts, but not "needless" suffering from the expressed pain of the one we've harmed?

I do apologize again, as I can tell I'm basically quibbling over semantics, but I really think these distinctions are important and I would really appreciate everyone's input on the matter. Thanks again in advance.

Sincerely,
Ravens


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 Post subject: Re: NEVER take things personally?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:13 pm 
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Hi Ravens,

I think that a level of accountability is important if you are immune to what other people's opinions are.

I guess I interpret it like "I am my own creator of my own self worth". As in, what other people think of me will not interfere with who I believe I am.

Of course, that can be tricky because as someone with BPD, I haven't always been the greatest person, but I have been the best person I could be at the time.

I don't think this agreement can be followed in isolation from the others.

I found this link which provides a summary of the agreements, I thought maybe you'd like to read it :) http://www.humanpotentialunlimited.com/ ... ntent.html


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