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How not to take someone’s anger personally

Posted by Gary on Sep 1st, 2016
The following is writing sent from a client as she works through the emotional drama in her relationship. In her writing you will find how she is practicing all Four Agreements.  She takes a solid inventory of what is her half and what is her husband's half.  She see's the lies of agreements as something separate from him, and from her.  She is a partner with her husband and the enemy is the emotionally wounded belief system they each carry.  She is detached from believing the words and beliefs while still being present with her emotions. Her path is to stay present with the truth, and not step into believing the lies from the voices in her head, or his. Some days she succeeds, and some days she doesn't, but each day she gets better and stronger. In this assignment, she writes about her experience and emotions from a third person perspective so that she can practice being a neutral observer of her agreements and the voices in her head.  This technique is part of the Self Mastery Course teachings.  When her husband got very angry and yelled at Theresa, she felt afraid, then angry, then sad, then hopeless. This time, when he yelled at her through the phone, Theresa held the phone away from her ear and did not listen to his rage monster/judge spewing poison at her. She knew that everything he was saying wasn't true. They were just his judge's words. The words the judge was getting from the Big Liar's book of law for his life. All lies. So she figured, "why listen to the words? They aren't true anyway and they will just tempt me to take them personally and then I'll feel sad, depressed, etc." She felt better for not hearing the actual words but she still felt hurt and afraid because she could hear the anger in his voice. She felt rejected. She felt like she felt when her mother was angry with her when she was a child. She followed that thinking and realized that when someone she loves expresses anger, especially in an aggressive way, she felt afraid, which usually turned into fear and defensive behavior followed rapidly by quilt, desperation and an obsessive need to get approval from the angry person as quickly as possible, even if that meant sacrificing her need. She remembered that her needs never seemed to be important to her parents. They were almost considered a nuisance. She felt ashamed remembering how she felt in the face of her parents' anger toward her: ashamed, not good enough, like she was a bad girl and didn't even have the right to exist, that she was seriously flawed, something was missing when she was made, she lacked whatever it is that makes people precious and valuable to others, she lacked whatever it was that made people express love and inclusion instead of anger and pushing away. She knew these messages to be lies from her personal Book of Knowledge. She knew them to be lies from her Big Liar. She realized that the Big Liar told her that she couldn't live without her parents and since their anger at her meant to her that she was being rejected by them, she felt that her life was in danger. She felt the same way when her husband wasn't happy with her - whether he was giving his time and attention to another woman, or whether he was expressing his frustration and anger toward her - she realized she felt again that it was actually threat to her physical life. 1.) She decided to break the agreements that she needed another person's love to be a valuable person. She is valuable because she is part of the perfection of creation just because God created her as perfect as every other creature and thing that he created. 2.) She broke the agreement that someone's anger means that she's bad, or broken or not quite right, or somehow ‘off.’ She realized another person's anger is their own Liar's voice possessing them, it has nothing to do with her and she chose to not take it personally. She also realized that her anger is her own Big Liar and has nothing to do with the person she’s expressing to and that person doesn’t have to take it personally either. 3.) She realized that she felt dependent on her husband for all of her life needs such as food, water, shelter, clothing as well as other, non-essentials like fun and vacations. She thought that the underlying agreement was that she can't take care of herself or her kids without an income-earning husband. She decided to break the agreement that a she can't take care of herself. She remembered that she is capable of having a job, making money, paying bills, on her own. She thought that she didn't have to rely on someone else for all those things. She remembered that she and her husband decided together after their first child was born that she would stay home with the kids because her income earning potential was less than his. They decided this together so she realized that she did not have to feel guilty about not working and supporting the family. They had decided together that it was his responsibility to be the primary bread winner and that it was primarily her responsibility to stay home and raise the kids, take care of the house, etc. She thought about today's argument. Her husband brought up that he was picking his vacation weeks today for the coming year. She asked if he could take a week off during Spring Break so that the family could take a warm weather vacation. This request struck a nerve in him and he became irate, slammed the car door and headed to work. She decided her tone of voice and demeanor were calm, albeit a little annoyed, and realized she could have done better so she called him and apologized for handling it badly and then asked the question about Spring Break again calmly and as a request for him to consider taking off a week during Spring Break if it was possible at all. This triggered a firestorm of uncontrolled ranting in him that lasted for minutes and ended with him hanging up on her. While he was expressing his anger, she had stayed calm and tried on a few occasions to apologize for making him angry and suggest they end the conversation but he talked over her, didn't calm down and hung up on her instead. She tried her best to not make an assumption about why he couldn't take Spring Break week of and instead ask him if it was or wasn’t a possibility, not to take his anger personally and to do her best and to not use her word against herself. So, she didn't listen to the Big Liar (his and her own) who tried to make her feel guilt, shame, fear, etc. She used the circumstances instead, to break the above agreements - or at least start to. She suspects that the agreement about needing a husband will take time to break and believe the new agreement - that she doesn't need a husband for survival, she wants one to share her love with She decided to do the sun meditation where she draws energy from the sun into her body, remembers the fight with herself supporting herself and gently blowing all the Big Liar's words back at it and then infusing the entire situation with love, just to try and heal herself and her husband. She also realized how hurtful angry words - the word used incorrectly, for death - can be and she resolved to try her best to never do that to her husband, or to anyone else that she loved, again. She is doing her best, and is patient with herself and her husband as they work through their emotional drama. Some days this is the journey for a spiritual warrior.  

Self Mastery Course Feedback

Posted by Gary on Aug 22nd, 2013
Hi Gary, Thank you for the follow up. I'm writing to give you some feedback. Since reading the four agreements and completing both your courses (Basic Self Mastery Series and Advanced Series), everything has changed for me. Incidentally, I found the four agreements by accident, it was a link on a website called F.O.G personality disorders for help with dealing with people like this (I've had several in my life including my mother) This help me see that continual trap I was falling into of freely loving and trusting the good in people only to my disadvantage. I struggled with the four agreements at first and I hunted the web for ways of implementing it for a while, I eventually found you and did both your Self Mastery courses. A bit about me, I am a psychiatric nurse and also a trained counselor, I'm now aware that I went into these professions not only to help other people but to heal myself. The four agreements has superseded all of my five years of training and I have healed my old wounds. I cannot put into words how much Gratitude I have for what your Self Mastery course has enabled me to do, I am Moved beyond anything I have ever felt before. What you have done is Beautiful. Thank you. It is my intention to meet you on one of your spiritual workshops / retreats and I look forward to giving you a big hug. I am currently starting to build a new life and I've decided to change professions. I'm going to be a writer I'm working on my first book now.  It’s one where all the main characters have different mental health problems. Look out for it in the next couple of years - it will be done. I've liked you on facebook, have a look through so you can see what I look like. I love you. Z. B.

Fear of Being Duped By A Spiritual Teacher

Posted by Gary on Jul 19th, 2013
Some people write or talk to me about their hesitancy or resistance to taking steps forward on their path of discovery.  One of my favorites is:

There is a fear of being duped by a Spiritual Teacher 

Fear of being mislead by a teacher. Fear of being duped and giving away a trust in myself. What is discernment, what is judgment? When am I doing which?

I find this reasoning kind of funny.   A person is using their fear to guide their thought process away from taking actions.   Why should we trust our fears?  Isn't it usually our fears that more often mislead us in our thinking and actions? Often this kind of "fearful thinking" is called skepticism, and often by people who claim to be skeptics.  However, in this case the fear is using this tool of skepticism to be fearful of something different, and keep other fears in place by preventing action.  A more skillful use of skepticism would be to apply it to these fearful thoughts.  Until you apply skepticism to your fears, fears will use that tool of skepticism against your own emotional well being. To balance challenging your fears of a teacher, don't go leaping in with both feet towards what any teacher tells you either.  It is reasonable to be skeptical of a Spiritual teacher, or even therapist, just don't be fearful.  Take your time time getting to know them and see what they are like, and if it is a good fit for you. You might find some good guidance on evaluating a Spiritual Teacher from Jack Kornfield's book, "A Path With Heart." Chapter 16 is entitled:   You Can’t Do It Alone: Finding and Working with a Teacher          

Personal Power, Faith, Beliefs, and Agreements

Posted by Gary on May 13th, 2013
Believing is something that you do. Faith is what you do it with. Faith is a kind of personal power you have.  You can put it in concepts and ideas in your head and make agreements with it. Or you can put your personal power of faith within your self. A warrior refrains from the first, and does the latter.    

Spiritual Warrior

Posted by Gary on Mar 11th, 2013
A spiritual warriors path is challenging. In The Four Agreements, Miguel Ruiz calls it a war.  We will lose some battles, that's okay.  It may feel like a lot, even with the perspective of the victim persona at the time, hopeless.  But it is only one battle.  A Spiritual Warrior learns not to measure progress in the war using the metrics of only one battle. A Spiritual Warrior learns to retreat, rest, recover, learn from their actions, regroups, then stands up again to take another step on his path. Even in the process of losing a battle, much progress is made.  The ego has pushed back, and so it is exposed, and we gain more clarity on our endeavor.  The ego can even be weakened.  At a minimum, we become more respectful of our foe, even if it is a dream.  We become more grateful of those moments that are peaceful, and even grateful of moments where we are  just holding our ground against a dream.  And with that kind of experience a number of times we embrace humility, a kind of mile marker on the journey. Sometimes it is best for a Warrior to realize they have done their best against their emotional reactions and  inner demons of the mind, and to go rest and recover.   A warrior learns there is a time for that too as they become wise. Sometimes it is best to rest and recover.  It will be necessary to take time to rest or you will not win many of the battles in the war for your happiness.  

Four Agreements for Kids

Posted by Gary on Jun 14th, 2012
How to raise kids using the Four Agreements?  

Dear Gary,

  Upon reading about domestication. I had this awful awareness that I will be placing these walls around my own children’s thought by using positive and negative reinforcement . I was wondering if you had any recommendations how to avoid these patterns or if there are any books out there to help . Thank you in advance....... Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned, This is a question I hear a lot and it often comes from a concerned parent becoming more aware of themselves, and how their actions impact their child's emotions and beliefs that will be with them a long time.  First let's explain the term "domestication," which Miguel uses in his book.  It means a system of punishments and rewards used to modify other people's behavior.  We reward kids with praise, dessert, hugs, and attention.  We punish with isolation in their room, time out, scoldings, anger, and criticism.    As we become more aware as human beings we realize that some of what we say and do to children may affect them emotionally well into their adult lives. That kind of realization makes us much more vigilant in how we use the power of  our word and emotions. There is much more to this issue of applying the tools of the Four Agreements to your relationships,   so this is only a short overview. First, the truth is that you have to domesticate your children.  It is best if children learn about the world of punishments and rewards of the world from people who love them.   If they don't learn of the world of punishments and rewards from you, then the world will teach them those experiences.  If they don't follow some basic rules,,,, then the police will eventually catch up with the.  Case in point,,, Paris Hilton. Second.  it is a question of how you domesticate them that makes a great difference.   A child can still learn about punishments and rewards in an environment of kindness, acceptance, and love. Third: The best way for the child to avoid developing deep sabotaging fearful beliefs is for the parent to live happily, impeccably, and without emotional drama.   A child is more likely to model what is lived around him or her. Domestication in a loving and aware way is to learn about consequences.  Teach children about consequences,,, and to do that you have to provide consequences, and let them experience consequences.  Some pleasant,,, some unpleasant.   If they don't learn to do laundry, then eventually they don't have any clean clothes to wear.  Expecting their parents to do everything for them is not learning to take care of themselves and is not learning about real life. Consequences can not be avoided.  They are a real part of life.  Yet this has to be balanced with protecting them.  A five year old doesn't need to learn about crossing the street by themselves through trial and error of consequences. Consequences is not the same as punishment.  If you yell at me, then I don't respond to you or talk to you.  That is a consequence of yelling at me or treating me with anger.  I do not engage.  If I yell back at you,,, that is a punishment of anger I am trying to inflict emotional poison on you.  If you have awareness,,, you can choose if you will punish or if you refrain.  If  a parent doesn't have awareness and personal power, then they are more likely to  just react and punishment happens without choice.  Then later,,, you punish your self for how you over reacted.  So to help you parent, you need to develop your own awareness and mastery. If you are judgmental of people and get angry a lot then a child will learn that to be normal behavior, even if you tell them, not to. Punishment is not the same as making it personal.    This is an awareness between what a person does, and what a person is.   A good person can fail, make a mistake, have an emotional reaction, and it doesn't mean they are a bad person, failure, or unloved.   If you correct  a child, perhaps they don't like what you did,,, but can still love you.  In this regard it is as important what emotions you express with your words, as the words themselves. Make a distinction between what your children do, and what they are.  This is something that you will need to practice in normal times so that when stressful emotional times happen it will remain part of your awareness and interaction with them.   They are people you love, and are beautiful, even when their actions and behaviors might not always be aligned with what you want for them.  You can provide them consequences for their actions while you love them.   Hopefully in this way they will learn to be wise in their choices, and feel good about themselves no matter the outcome. For more on honing your skills at communication, emotions, and eliminating your own emotional reactions, I suggest the Self Mastery course and Relationship Course on my other site.

How Long Will It Take

Posted by Gary on May 16th, 2012
"How long will it take?" they ask. That's often the question as one is working through their issues of limiting beliefs, fears, emotional reactions, or sabotaging behaviors.  Always the question, "How long will it take?" It will take a certain number of hours.  You can put those hours in early and be done sooner, or you can do just a few minutes a day of change work and have it take many years. It's like learning to read, dance, fly an airplane, or play a musical instrument.  All of these things will take a certain number of hours before you reach a level.  If you want to go further and master more emotional skills and more of your beliefs, it will take more hours.  The critical way to measure how long it will take is by how many hours you spend practicing, not the days or weeks of the process.  If it takes 100 hours to break through a set of limiting beliefs you can do it in 5 weeks, or you can do it in 5 years.   Either way it will take you the same number of hours. So to answer the question about, "How long will it take before I see the changes I want?" The answer is a certain number of hours. This is an excerpt.  Full post at How long will it take?     

Love as a Change Agent

Posted by Gary on May 12th, 2012
Love is a great change agent.  When you are exposed to, and experience great love, your life has a tremendous chance to change.   In the experience of love your unhappiness from a limited perspective, and beliefs in fear and lies can not survive. One of the challenges is that when you exposed to love, your ego will fight back. It will try to deny,  diminish, and distract you from what you feel.   Such is the nature of stories in the mind.  They don't feed well on unconditional love and fear starving to death. Love and Fear,,,, this is the battle ground within for the Spiritual Warrior.  It is a battle over one's attention.  On one side is Love and all the expressions of Love.  On the other, is fear, and all the expressions of  fear. Self awareness is a necessary trait of a warrior.  Being aware of his expressions  is how he recognizes which side he is on in each moment. for practical steps and exercises on finding your way try the free sessions of the Self Mastery program.   

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Posted by Gary on Feb 20th, 2012

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Indirectly we learned not to pay attention to our emotions, Xanax cost, Xanax steet value, what we were feeling,  or what we wanted, Xanax dosage. Buy Xanax from canada, When you become an adult, and you realize that your attention is still governed by all those rules you collected, rx free Xanax, Xanax pharmacy, or that your mind is looking for other people to direct your attention.  You might even feel uncomfortable if it is your own hands with no one telling you what to do, doses Xanax work. Buy Xanax without prescription, You may find your self trapped with your thoughts and beliefs controlling your attention. Xanax For Sale,   Realizing that you are trapped, and don't have control over your attention is one of the first steps towards freedom.

It is only as adults that we have the opportunity to take control over our own attention, Xanax from mexico, Is Xanax safe, notice how we feel, and direct our life in a way we want, Xanax duration. Canada, mexico, india, This is something of an opportunity not typically available to us when we were children.

Oh, buy generic Xanax, Ordering Xanax online, ,, order Xanax from United States pharmacy, Japan, craiglist, ebay, overseas, paypal, and it will take work, and many attempts to free your attention from limiting beliefs and fears, order Xanax from mexican pharmacy. Australia, uk, us, usa, Such is a spiritual warriors training ground.

Specific exercises for gaining control over your own attention can be found at my Self Mastery Course at  Pathway to Happiness. 


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Posted by Gary on Feb 7th, 2011

Truth often shows up in the form of a Paradox.



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