“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.”  Miquel Ruiz

Cover of "The Four Agreements: A Practica...

Are you a responsible person?  How do you define responsibility?  Do you communicate compassionately and take responsibility for what you express?

Responsibility Comes From Within

The theme of responsibility seems to be surfacing in my life this week.  We often think of responsibility in terms of the exterior life: supporting ourselves financially, not telling lies, or doing what we say we will do.  That’s all very important because what we do externally is a sign of who we are at a deeper level.

I attend a couple of discussion groups and the topic for the one I attended recently was the second of Don Miquel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.  This book is a wonderful guide to living our lives and I highly recommend it.  The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.”  Needless to say, this aroused a lively discussion.

The Emotional Source of Our Conflicts

It also reminded me of so many experiences in my life when, at the time an event was occurring, I could not see how I was part of creating a conflict.  For example, a friend and I, who are members of group, had a very unpleasant disagreement over whether a particular meeting with a guest speaker would take place at his house or mine.  The event had been scheduled weeks in advance for my house.

Then my friend informed me that he was changing the location to his house because he had invited the speaker and felt his place would work better.  I was upset because I love having this group in my home and I knew it would be months before I could host the meeting again.  I explained this to him, but he remained firm in his decision and I felt he was saying my house was inadequate for this event.  I’ve hosted many of these events and I was rather offended by his attitude.  Finally he said, “This isn’t personal.”


Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

When It Really Isn’t Personal

Well, it sure felt personal to me!  I was looking forward to that warm, fuzzy feeling I get when people I like are in my house, and I didn’t want to put off this opportunity until spring when I would have time to host again.  On the other hand, my friend is a very conscientious person who also likes to have things set up a certain way.  He was the one who invited the guest speaker and he wanted to be able to control the environment in which she did her demonstration and talk.  So, his decision really wasn’t about me.  It was about his needs.

He and I are good friends and we talked about our feelings later and found peace about the issue.  It was a learning experience for us both.  But these situations often arise in life, and I’ve come to realize that when someone does something that hurts me, it’s an opportunity for me to look at why I’m upset.  Is this person being unkind or am I reading something into their words or actions because they have touched on my deep wounds?  Either way, I have a choice about my response.

Acting Out Of Love Is Acting Impeccably

By nature, we are all spiritual beings and capable of being loving.  However, if we have been abused or unloved, we may not know how to be loving.  Because I know this, when someone is mean or unkind to me, I know that it is about them, and I have a choice.  I can walk away or I can try to discuss what has caused this response to understand if I have been insensitive in some way.  Of course, my response will be different depending on whether this negative response is a one-time thing or on-going attitude.

Communicate With Compassion

If we accept Ruiz’s statement to not take anything personally as a guide for our behavior, we can most effectively use it to monitor our own communication with others.  His first agreement is to speak and act impeccably, to be concerned about the effects of our words and actions on others.  These first two agreements work well together.  I think he is telling us to be responsible, think before we act, and care about the consequences of our actions, but to be aware that other’s actions are more about their feelings and ideas than ours.   When we do this, I think we usually make better choices because we become aware of the whole communication circle. We can show them compassion, but we don’t have to become entangled with the drama.

This week I also attended a group that is practicing compassionate communication.  We did an exercise where we listened to one person’s story and tried to hear the facts, feelings, needs, and values expressed in it, then we reflected back to the person what we heard.  It seems to me that this practice fits beautifully with what Ruiz is suggesting.  If we learn to listen and speak with compassion, we are acting impeccably and we are also honoring the third agreement—don’t make assumptions.  We listen to what the other person is truly saying, and we try to become more conscious of how our own inner story may distort our perception of another’s story.

What Do You Put Into the Energy Around You?

Regardless of our spiritual beliefs, we are responsible for what we put out into the world, and if we accept the Law of Attraction as part of our belief systems, as I do, we know the energy of our words and actions affects the energy of those around us.  How we approach a touchy subject with another can make a huge difference.  If we connect with empathy and love, we can often create an understanding out of chaos.  When we learn not to take everything personally, it doesn’t mean we don’t care.

How do you handle difficult communication?  How does your attitude make a difference?    Please Comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Responsible Communication,  Living the Four Agreements: A Life changing Journey,  Law of Attraction, Receiving Love


  1. Pingback: You Made Me Do It | My Everyday Psychology

  2. Well done, Georganne….I am totally familiar with Ruiz’ four agreements….they have served me well and I do believe you have given an excellent real-life example of making the agreements work in our lives.
    Thank you.

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