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The Art of Not Taking Yourself Personally

Now, when my mind starts acting up again, I picture my parrot, Pearl, doing his famous "head shake." He is such a great mentor in that he is not one to spend a moment on self doubt!
Now, when my mind starts acting up again, I picture my parrot, Pearl, doing his famous “head shake.” He is such a great mentor in that he is not one to spend a moment on self doubt!

Recently, I have gone through a few periods where I have gotten really down on myself.

After having worked so hard for so many years to learn how to give myself the benefit of a doubt, it seriously bummed me out when this unpleasant habit cropped up yet again.

In other words, I took it quite personally.

I got mad at myself. Really mad.

(It goes without saying this didn’t help the situation much.)

But then I remembered what one of my long-time mentors, author Don Miguel Ruiz, Sr., has to say about taking things personally.

In a phrase, he says, “Don’t take anything personally.”

It just didn’t occur to me until just now that this includes myself. 

My mind kicks out all kinds of thoughts on a daily (okay, hourly) basis. For example, for many years it was quite fond of ruminating on body shape and size (and how mine should be different). For several years after that, my mind marinated itself (and me) in anxiety and depression – it liked to alternate the two, just for variety’s sake.

More recently, my mind has come around to a more positive, well, mindset. We have worked hard to train it to seek out the part of the glass that is half full and see how we might fill it even further.

So I had kind of gotten out of the habit of making a great daily effort to view “my mind” and “me” as separate, distinct entities.

Now I am realizing it is never good to get out of this habit.

My mind may think I suck. It may think I am a terrible person. It may tell me – repeatedly, frequently – that I am immature, irresponsible, lazy, selfish, entitled or all manner of other awful things.

In fact, it has told me each of these very things very recently.

But, as an early mentor of mine once stated, “Well, you don’t have to believe it.”

And I certainly don’t have to take any of it personally.

As Ruiz continually emphasizes in his work, drama and truth are not the same. We can have a great storyline going – one with a really gripping cliffhanger ending – but that still doesn’t mean it is real.

In the same way, my mind has every right to think and say whatever it wants, just like I do.

But I don’t have to believe it.

By the way, neither do you.

Today’s Takeaway: Have you ever struggled through periods where your own mind seemed to turn into your enemy? Did you wonder why and how to make it stop? What worked to get you through those times and back into a more positive frame of mind?

p.s. This post is from my free monthly ezine, “Good News for Recovery + Life.”

The Art of Not Taking Yourself Personally

Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Mentor. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering.

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2019). The Art of Not Taking Yourself Personally. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 28, 2020, from


Last updated: 7 Dec 2019
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