I read The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz over the weekend. It was the Day of Atonement, aka Yom Kippur, and the air was ripe for self-reflection and self-growth. I was excited to delve into this book that I have heard so many great things about, but never got a chance to purchase.
After completing the book, I decided I would create a series on my First Comes Self-Love blog discussing my experience reading this book, and quotes which I found particularly enlightening.
This morning, G-d sent me a message in great support of my mission: an email from a disenchanted nutrition client who was writing to say that she would no longer be using my services. And she even detailed out all the reasons why. Yippee!
This was clearly a test on the second agreement of The Four Agreements: Don’t take things personally.
At first glance, it’s like, how can I not? She clearly delineated specific reasons why she did not find working WITH ME valuable. Luckily, though, having just read The Four Agreements, my mind was ready to respond with how to NOT personalize this email.
I had already known from our complimentary introductory phone session, as well as our first in-person consultation, that she was not a very flexible person, nor an open-minded one. And while in her perspective it was the previous nutritionist she saw that was the difficult one, I noted in the way she described that situation that working with her would likely be challenging. Initially, I thought I was doing HER a service by giving her extra time on her complimentary intro call to allow her to vent about her disappointment seeing the previous nutritionist, but in hindsight, it turned out to be a blessing for ME.
Knowing her experience with the previous nutritionist—listening to her description, her tone of voice, and her emotions— I learned a lot about what to expect when working with her. I individualized our first session, taking her concerns into account. I also geared myself up mentally and emotionally to work with her.
I learned other things from our preliminary phone call and first session as well, all of which combined to help me put this rather unnerving email in perspective.
I still feel hurt .I still feel defeated. But deep down I know: Do not personalize things; that what she said is more a reflection of herself, than it is a commentary on how I do things.
(Note: I am open to constructive criticism, and believe that it helps a person grow. The feedback I received from her, however, was fraught with blame, judgment and assumptions—or, in the words of don Miguel Ruiz—emotional poison.)