My life has been a space of perpetual learning. Here are a few of the key lessons, of the thousands I have logged over the years.
Don’t Take Things Personally
This story is taken from one of my favourite books: The Four Agreements. And we start by understanding reality versus virtual reality. So imagine there’s the mirror behind me on the wall. On the opposite wall, is a bookcase. Does the bookcase in the mirror look real? Well of course it does. Is it real? Well of course it’s not. You cannot lean into the mirror and take a book off the shelf. The mirror creates a virtual reality.
Our minds do exactly the same thing. They take reality, and process that through belief systems, experience, and conditioning that it exists in our minds. It creates a virtual reality. That reality is true for us, but it is not THE truth.
Imagine that you are in a mall with hundreds of movie theatres. You find a movie that has your name, and you go in. There is one person in the movie theatre, and that person does not notice you when you sit behind them. As you watch the movie, you realise that this is the story of your life. You know every character, and they are exactly as you believe them to be. After 10 minutes or so, you get bored and leave. You pop into the next movie theatre, and sits next to the one woman who is there. She doesn’t notice you. She is completely engrossed in the movie. As you watch, you see that this movie has all of the same characters that appeared in your movie, but they are all different. After a while, you realise that this is your mother’s movie, and that this is how she perceives to you. You see your partner, and the way your mother sees your partner is completely different to the way you see your partner. The same with your father, and every other character in the movie.
You spend the afternoon, going into countless movies. You appear in every movie, and yet you are different in every movie. Now it begins to sink in. Everybody has a different virtual reality of you in their minds. Everybody relates to you differently.
So, you go back to your first movie, and you realise that this is not the truth, it is your truth, but it is not THE truth.
When you realise this, and realise that everybody has their own movie, with its own soundtrack, and its own script, and everybody’s perceptions of everything, and everyone are different. Then you realise how ludicrous it is to take anything personally because everybody sees you through their lens.
So, what I have learned is to be my authentic self and not to worry about what other people think because it is not about me, it is always about them. One of my favourite responses when people don’t like what I say is, “I am sorry you feel that way.”