I was driving through the Target parking lot yesterday, and apparently the happy lady coming from the other direction was a tad bit upset with my driving. Sure I moved over in her direction a little (at 5 mph and accidentally). And she flipped out. Arms flailing, yelling (which was extremely effective in her car with the windows rolled up, but I could see her jaw flapping away).

Geeze, wish I could spend some quality time in her world. I smiled, chuckled, maybe even shook my head a little as I blasted by (at 5 mph), which surprisingly didn’t seem to cheer her up one bit. I’m not sure what her deal was, but it doesn’t matter. It wasn’t my driving or my (possibly over-) cheerful reaction. It wasn’t about me at all. We know it was all about her and what was going on inside her happy little head. Right?

Which reminded me of one of the most powerful messages out there…

Don’t take things personally. Sounds easy enough. It’s not. And generally speaking, we tend to let it creep into every pore of who we are, unless of course we make the commitment to not take things personally…and practice, practice practice (and then practice some more, followed by some practice, with a little practice sprinkled on top). It’s a simple concept, with life-changing power. And, oh by the way, it takes practice.

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If someone lashes out, makes a nasty comment, or zaps you with their bad-energy ray…it is all about them. So why in the world would we take that personally? (It has to be said that this all applies to positive things people say about us too, but that’s too much for my little, under-caffeinated brain to focus on right now.)

I’m sure we’ve all heard the, “…it’s not about you, it’s about them…” line. Well, not only is it true, but few things are truer. Of course, what you say and do is all about you…and not them, so watch your P’s & Q’s. (What are P’s & Q’s anyway? My mom and dad used to say that. They probably know.)

There’s a book out there called The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. If you get to a point where you’re looking for a new read, pick it up. That’s the first book on Pete Winfrey’s book list. As you might have guessed, one of the four agreements is; Don’t take things personally.

So, as you roll through your day today, pay attention to how much stuff you are taking personally. Once you get a general feel for how much there likely is, start really embracing the “it’s about them…not me” deal. Don’t take things personally. When you do, you are giving up your inner power-source to someone who probably doesn’t deserve it.

And watch out for the crazy driver in the white Subaru Crosstrek, careening wildly out of control (at 5 mph). He’s probably coming at you intentionally, determined to ruin your day. Or maybe just going to Target to get some dog food. You never know.

Pete Hanson is on 98.1 Minnesota's New Country weekday mornings from 5:30 to 10:00.

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