Don Miguel Ruiz says that the second agreement grows from the first and stems from a belief that “everything is about me.” Thus when someone says “God you’re stupid”, even if they don’t know us we take it on board because we assume they know more about us than they actually do.
He says that even when people insult us it is not about us but about them because they say things as a result of their experiences and the agreements they have made throughout their lives. We take it personally as a result of trying to impose our world and our beliefs on what they are saying. Additionally when we do take things personally we are accepting the black magic that their word brings to our world. When we take on the tenets of this second agreement those words no longer have power over us.
He also states that our own beliefs are not necessarily compatible with each other and that sometimes they can create conflict in our own minds which makes us uncomfortable, or guilty, or confused. So the second part of this agreement is to not take everything our own minds tell us personally either, but rather to recognize that at times the conflict is real and does make us feel bad about our actions or parts of our lives. That is not to say that what our mind tells us is always wrong. The challenge is to recognize the truth when we hear it, even if it hurts, because when we hurt we can begin to heal.
“As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.”