The perception of presence

Don’t take anything personally.

This is the second agreement in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements.

And he doesn’t just mean anything . . . he means everything.

When a person let’s go of taking everything (or anything) personally, they essentially let go of our sometimes snarky nature of being judgmental towards ourselves and others. We are trained at a very early age to please others to get our needs met, to receive affirmation, to know that we are accepted and loved. When someone praised us, we felt good. We had done a good job. We could consider ourselves good.

But when we did something that another person considered “bad,” we would not receive praise, but rather be reprimanded, rewards would be withheld, and we felt bad. Some of us even considered ourselves as being bad.

The key, Ruiz says, is to realize that another person’s judgment of you or your actions as “good” or “bad” is all about them and their perceptions. None of it is about you. Perception is just as much a presence in you as it is in others. You and I also perceive and judge our world from our personal perspectives.

When someone does something we like and it makes us feel good, we compliment them. We would like for them to do more of those things that we approve of and make us feel good. When we do this we have just given power and control over our feelings to them. Ditto for feeling bad about what other people do and say.

Just for one day, be mindful of the presence of perception in yourself and others. Be aware of what you feel when another says or does anything. Watch that little judgmental angel rise to the occasion and begin to label another’s actions or words. Pay attention to how that judgment makes you feel. Then change your perception. Pretend you are someone else who might think what that person did or said was good. Watch your feelings change as you change your perception.

“ . . . for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Hamlet, William Shakespeare

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Tags: , , , , ,

12 Responses to “The perception of presence”

  1. Danson Says:


    I enjoyed the article 🙂

    Always nice to see things that back up your own life view! Keep it up!

    Take Care,

  2. holessence Says:

    “He means EVERYTHING.”

    Barbara – this is a wonderful reminder. And a timely blog post in that I am going to send an email right now to a friend who can use this VERY message. It’s as if you’ve written it specifically for the particular pain he is currently feeling in his heart.

    As usual, you are Spot On! Thank you.

    Laurie Buchanan

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Laurie — it is tough to get our minds wrapped around “EVERYTHING” especially when it is something very close and personal. And, we are feeling beings so we are going to feel the emotions associated with what happens to us. For me, knowing what is causing my suffering helps me through the hard times.

  3. Snoopykg1 Says:

    Hummmm everything…do I have too. I take lots of things too seriously! I am not sure if it is my nature, genetics, environment or all of the above!
    Four Agreements: There I thought i did not know all 4!
    1. Make sure your word is impeccable.
    2. Don’t take things personally.
    3. Do my Best
    4. Do not make any assumptions

    You are again dead on, and quite frankly after my experiance last night I am entirely convince that even when I percieve something as very very bad as it should be, it is the challenge to turn it around into something good. I am thinking right now, Barabara and Laurie are on the same wavelength some how or have a connection I am not aware of, as you usually are complementing and building on each other so much!


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Kim — I think Laurie and I have the Vulcan mind-meld thing going sometimes. I purposely do not go read her blog until I have written mine. I know that Sandi often writes about things that I have been ignoring in my life and that gets my attention, too. When people talk about the “Law of Attraction” I believe that is what it really is: attracting the energy in your life that reflects who I am right now. When I communicate with you, Laurie, Sandi, and a few others, I know I am in good company (which says a lot for the company that I am!)

  4. sandiwhite Says:

    Kim has the right of that, y’all are consistently backing each other up and I’m ( among others) reaping the benefits of your wisdom. I have tried the exercise of “stepping to the side” and viewing a situation from a different viewpoint simply to look at it from another’s perspective and have been surprised at how much I missed while building my own prejudicial case. I managed to get so in the way of reality that I was in fact living a fantasy. It is so hard to believe that I’m not always right and it pinches to admit it, much better to see it, the truth, unvarnished as to see it adulterated by my wishful thinking or unrealistic expectations.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Wow, Sandi — that phrase “living in a fantasy” really hits home. I entered into my marriage living in a fantasy about how things would be. I do much better with my eyes and mind wide open to what really is going on. I still get stuck in my idea of what I want and trying to make that happen, but I am getting better at realizing that is what I am doing.

  5. Snoopykg1 Says:

    My biggest one is the challenge of unrealistic expectations…ugh

  6. holessence Says:

    “…attracting the energy in your life that reflects who I am right now.”

    Barbara, that’s it precisely! That speaks to the philosophy of “what we think about, we bring about” but I like how you’ve stated it so much better.

    Make it a GREAT day!

    Laurie Buchanan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: