The next three
agreements are really born from the first agreement. The
second agreement is don't take anything personally.
around you, don't take it personally. Using an earlier
example, if I see you on the street and I say, "Hey, you are
so stupid," without knowing you, it's not about you; it's
about me. If you take it personally, perhaps you believe you
are stupid. Maybe you think to yourself, "How does he
know? Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I
You take it
personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon
as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in
the dream of hell. What causes you to be trapped is what we
call personal importance. Personal importance, or
taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness
because we make the assumption that everything is about
"me." During the period of our education, or our
domestication, we learn to take everything personally. We
think we are responsible for everything. Me, me, me, always
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
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. Their point of view comes from all
the programming they received during domestication.
If someone gives
you an opinion and says, "Hey, you look so fat," don't
take it personally, because the truth is that this person is
dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions.
That person tried to send poison to you and if you take it
personally, then you take that poison and it becomes yours.
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.
You eat all their
emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. But if
you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of
hell. Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift
of this agreement.
When you take
things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to
defend your beliefs and create conflicts. You make something
big out of something so little, because you have the need to be
right and make everybody else wrong. You also try hard to be
right by giving them your own opinions. In the same way,
whatever you feel and do is just a projection of your own personal
dream, a reflection of your own agreements. What you say,
what you do and the opinions you have are according to the
agreements you have made--and these opinions have nothing to do
It is not
important to me what you think about me, and I don't take what you
think personally. I don't take it personally when people
say, "Miguel, you are the best," and I also don't take
it personally when they say, "Miguel, you are the
worst." I know that when you are happy you will tell
me, "Miguel, you are such an angel!" But, when you
are mad at me you will say, "Oh, Miguel, you are such a
devil! You are so disgusting. How can you say those
things?" Either way, it does not affect me because I
know what I am. I don't have the need to be accepted.
I don't have the need to have someone tell me, "Miguel, you
are doing so good!" or "How dare you do that!"
No, I don't take
it personally. Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know
is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see
the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing
with yourself, not with me. Others are going to have their
own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they
think about me is really about me, but it is about them.
You may even tell
me, "Miguel, what you are saying is hurting me."
But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you
have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are
hurting yourself. There is no way that I can take this
personally. Not because I don't believe in you or don't
trust you, but because I know that you see the world with
different eyes, with your eyes. You create an entire picture
or movie in your mind, and in that picture you are the director,
you are the producer, you are the main actor or actress.
Everyone else is a secondary actor or actress. It is your
The way that you
see that movie is according to the agreements you have made with
life. Your point of view is something personal to you.
It is no one's truth but yours. Then, if you get mad at me,
I know you are dealing with yourself. I am the excuse for
you to get mad. And you get mad because you are afraid,
because you are dealing with fear. If you are not afraid,
there is no way you will get mad at me. If you are not
afraid, there is no way you will hate me. If you are not
afraid, there is no way you will be jealous or sad.
If you live
without fear, if you love, there is no place for any of these
emotions. If you don't feel any of those emotions, it is
logical that you will feel good. When you feel good,
everything around you is good. When everything around you is
good, everything makes you happy. You are loving everything
that is around you, because you are loving yourself. Because
you like the way you are. Because you are content with
you. Because you are happy with your life. You are
happy with the movie you are producing, happy with your agreements
with life. You are at peace, and you are happy. You
live in that state of bliss where everything is so wonderful, and
everything is so beautiful. In that state of bliss you are
making love all the time with everything that you perceive.
at the foot of a native elder and listen as great
wisdom of days long past is passed down. In The
Four Agreements shamanic teacher and healer Don
Miguel Ruiz exposes self-limiting beliefs and
presents a simple yet effective code of personal
conduct learned from his Toltec ancestors.
Full of grace and simple truth, this handsomely
designed book makes a lovely gift for anyone making
an elementary change in life, and it reads in a
voice that you would expect from an indigenous