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.  With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. (from

This one agreement has freed me in so many ways. Asking for clarity makes other people accountable for what they say to you and how you respond makes you responsible for the tasks you choose to take on or not.  This was the easiest of the 4 Agreements for me to adapt and now I feel like am mastering it.  I am no longer caught in the, “I think they meant,” game.  I do not worry about how someone is affected by things, “I’m just trying to understand xyz’s  point of view.”

If you don’t know, then ask.  So many times I have been the victim of someone trying to figure out what I meant by a statement or some action I did.  Those people held on to an assumption that was not true, they treated me differently, I felt it and when I finally approached them, they realized that it was their perception and not what I meant at all. Whole days, months and in one case a whole year/s went by, when all they had to do is ask, “So what did you mean by that?”, or “why did you say or do that?”

Often people hold on to their own assumptions, because they already know the answer to asking for clarity. The truth, (we hope).  And guess what you have to do with the truth? Own it, be responsible for it or accountable to what is being told.  If you are a person who “CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH,” Agreement #3 is going to be hard for you and you will continue to hold on to assumptions that ultimately cause worry or insecurity.  “This person doesn’t like me because_____, I didn’t get the promotion because_______, That person is always doing________________ to me_________________because.”

This one Agreement freed me from all of that.  I actually had someone say, “I just don’t like you”. I had to dig deep and pull on Agreement #2 – Don’t Take Anything Personal, but I used Agreement #1 Be Impeccable With Your Words and I said, “Ok, now I know, thank you.”  Why didn’t matter to me.  All I wanted to know was what I was feeling was the truth and it turned out that it was.  She was ready for a verbal fight, as she began to explain.  I simply cut her off and said, “No need, I just wanted to know,” I left her standing there and walked away.   I just wanted clarity and I had it and I was able to move on.

Now as a person who pretty much likes everyone, it was a struggle in me to not continue to take it personal that she didn’t like me, but I had done enough work on #2 which is by far the hardest for me.   Now, when I see this person, I’m ok that it’s ok that she just doesn’t like me.  At the end of the day, inhale…I sought answers…exhale… for clarity.

Yeah right… So it’s easy to not take something personally when you can control the situation and the opinion of a person or the outcome of the situation is not that important.  But what about, as my students say, someone  “…is trying to come for you?” Like seriously unapologetically coming after you, verbally and sometimes physically, how do you not take that personally?

No seriously, I’m asking?  So feel free to comment…I want to know solutions others find that work for them.

Because of the 4 Agreements, this is by far the hardest for me.  It’s easier said than done to be like Jill Scott sings, “Go on and hate on me haters…” (but that’s not being impeccable with my words)…see, I still have issues that I have to work on…this is by far not easy, I guess that’s why I started writing this blog…easier said than done.

So you’re at work or some other event and this person makes no bones about the fact that they don’t like you, or they want your job and they are going to try their best to discredit everything about you…to your boss, colleagues, acquaintances, etc… Let’s face it, your friends and those family members that really know you would nip that person in the bud, so really, what I’m talking about is in a situation where something is at stake, like your job. Neither your supervisor nor your co-workers know you all that well, to be able to discern for themselves, the squeaky wheeled (not impeccable)…ok, the person that is causing this serious uproar about you.  It has started to affect how people view you. It is causing your boss to question your work, but you know that this person has every intention to discredit you in order to be seen in a higher light an/or to possibly to get your job or whatever the motive. How do you NOT take that personal?.  And even if you know all the right things to say and you do all the right things to not be affected by it, it’s easier said than done.

I found this article in Psychology Today- In Flux, Embracing transitions and change, by Abigail Brenner, M.D.

…. so below is what she says are some ways to work on Agreement#2

… Hopefully, your emotions will take a back seat while you ask this individual to fully explain what’s on their mind and what they want from you. Listen carefully so you can discern what makes sense and what doesn’t based on their fantasy or need to have you behave in a certain way. Tell them how what they’re saying/doing makes you feel. In some instances, they may not realize how aggressive, rude, insulting, bullying, and insensitive they are being; that their words are hurtful and that what they’re asking of you is unreasonable. Explain that if the goal of the interaction/confrontation is meant to be conciliatory they’re going about it in the wrong way. Perhaps, give them a way out by suggesting an alternative solution.

If it becomes clear that this person can’t respect you and your space and insists on creating a situation over and over again that’s meant to make you uncomfortable, feel badly about yourself, personally attack you, devalue and belittle you, and constantly attempt to bait you, you need to rethink the relationship. If it’s family it may be hard to divorce yourself from them but you can limit your time and the nature of the relationship you have with them. If it’s someone else, break off all ties with this person for your own sake.

This is the closest example I’ve found.  I bolded the part that I love about the statement, however, divorcing yourself from family is easier than sitting in a meeting getting ripped to shreds, while your boss and colleagues are there, or  maybe it is your boss (they might be intimidated).

I have been in this position before and I have several friends going through this now. Before, I didn’t know about the 4 Agreements so I know I did a lot of screaming and hollering and throwing a temper tantrum to get people to see that the other person was the problem not me.   Well, you can guess how well that turned out?  It was literally the worse year of my life from a work stand point.  However, when I discovered the 4 Agreements and how to do Breathprayers  (adapting each to a more urban way that I could handle), I found that I literally did not care if I walked away from the job for my own sanity and happiness and find another one, nor did I care to fight the person.  I looked at it and thought,  if my boss couldn’t see it for what it was, then this was her lesson not mine. I examined what I needed to do to continue to stay calm and confident about what I was doing, stopped engaging others in the situation and worked quietly and steadily dotting all my “I’s” and crossing my “t’s”.  I devised a Plan B in case this was really what I had to do to save myself ( read the 5 levels of Leadership. Leaders like people who are like themselves. Therefore you might have to leave because your ethics do not match the ethics of the company established by the leadership, but that’s a whole other blog excerpt).

Long story short, They thought  I had stopped caring because there were no more reactions. When really it was about not giving energy to the negative and not taking personally what really wasn’t about me.  So a year later came an apology from the co-worker and my boss.  Because in the end, I knew…inhale..this is NOT…exhale… about me.

#Breathprayer Tuesday…Continue Agreement #2  Don’t Take Anything Personally…
inhale…I will only take in… exhale…what I need to work on 20xs 3 xs daily

Perhaps there’s truth in what someone is saying about you…or maybe not, but something they’ve said triggers insecurity or doubt that you have about yourself…Don’t Take Anything Personally means that if you know you have done your best in a situation or that you have not warranted the gossip or negative talk that others are saying…then don’t own it as yours…if there is an inkling of truth in the statements or the actions…own the part of it that you need to work on…listen to  what the person is saying about the behavior you exhibited and not charge it to the fact the person may be attacking your whole being (that’s on them for not being able to articulate what they really want to say  like in Agreement #1 not Being Impeccable With Their Words… so try to block out tone and sarcasm…see if there is any truth that you need to own, fix within yourself and let everything else about that situation go… everything else is their ego, their projection toward you about themselves that triggered their lashing out at you in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong.  This is extremely hard when it is playing out publicly.  This is when the need to  “save face” is the easiest way you know whether you are taking something personally or not…ask yourself…

  • Is it more important to respond to this person right now
  • Is it more important to you to have the last word to prove that person wrong or do you know that you will be vindicated sooner or later with time
  • Do you feel the need to post on social media or ask others to see your point differently, or are you ok letting things ride out knowing in the end the truth will reveal itself
  • What is the person really saying about me…is it about something I’ve done to hurt that person or someone else…
  • Can you disassociate from tone and sarcasm and concentrate on what’s really being said
  • Can you ask yourself if you agree or disagree with what the person is saying
  • If something is really not ok with you, can you Speak ONLY to the issue that needs clarification, being mindful of Agreement #1 Be Impeccable With Your Word
  • If it continues…can you end the conversation or your connection to the situation…talk positively to yourself…thank yourself for being the bigger person… Breathprayer… I will only take in…exhale…what I need to work on…