People are who they are and they do what they do

Katrina Atkin dancing in the street

Note: Sorry about the random reblog – was experimenting to find out what happens when you click reblog (I DID choose one I thought would be fun) and hoped there’d be a chance to preview before it published, but no….

One of my all time favorite teachings came from Serge King when he taught the Huna segment for my class at Nine Gates Mystery School (he doesn’t teach for Nine Gates any more): “People are who they are and they do what they do.” The more you know about who somebody is and what he does, the less you will ever be disappointed because you know you can’t expect him to be or do something else. When Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements came out some years later I found his “Don’t take anything personally” to be aligned; if you know your friend is being who she is and doing what she does how can you take what she’s doing personally?

That piece of advice has been so incredibly helpful to me and some of my friends have found it life changing too. One friend had a really unhappy relationship with her dad. She was a great believer in communication to heal relationships so she kept writing him letters in which she explained how upset she was by certain things he did. She was disappointed every time because her expectation was that he would change because of what she told him and he never did. This had been going on for years when I described the concept and said, “seems to me he’s just being who he is.” As I explained it her eyes grew wide and her jaw dropped. As soon as she looked at it from that perspective the whole situation changed for her.

I don’t have a personal anecdote that’s as dramatic but in many subtle ways it has changed relationships and kept me from a lot of hurt feelings. It doesn’t mean you have to stop liking people or to judge them, it means you can make decisions about relationships based on knowing and accepting who people are. For me that sometimes means creating a little distance and sometimes feeling more trust or closeness. I was always a little oversensitive and I’m so grateful for reducing the hurt feelings factor; I get it that almost everything other people say and do reflects everything about them and nothing about me.

In the holiday season when lots of people are dreading events that involve spending time with relatives, I think it’s a good time to take a breath and remember, “People are who they are and they do what they do.” Don’t expect that anybody’s going to be different and know that whatever is being said and done is not about you – don’t take anything personally.

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8 thoughts on “People are who they are and they do what they do

  1. Great advice heading into the holidays. This post helped me to see that I’ve grown in maturity about the holidays.

    I used to get upset that my significant other of three years didn’t celebrate holidays in the way that I do, especially Christmas. In the past, I’d be annoyed if he didn’t want to be together on Christmas day, or I would diminish my own desires to celebrate the holidays with him. It was tough because I’m divorced and have kids, so it’s a bit complicated.

    This year, however, instead of trying to change him, I decided to keep doing what I do, and let go of worrying about whatever he does or doesn’t do. In a way, there was a kind of weird shaming voice in myself that said if he didn’t want the same things I wanted, that something was very wrong with our relationship. I just let go of that voice and accepted that we had different ideas about celebrating holidays.

    Maybe not surprisingly, it’s been the best Christmas season for us. He even decided yesterday to create a special celebration for the two of us after the holidays (which he hates because of past family issues).

    It’s amazing what letting go of expectations can do to open up new possibilities.

    Again, thanks for your blog.

  2. You have no idea how pertinent this is to me, right now, just before spending Christmas with relatives, whom I desperately hope will change each year …. and of course they don’t!

    I will try to remember this post when I am with them … for hours on end … and will try to accept that it’s only one day, once a year, that I have to be in close proximity and most importantly not to take it personally.

    Wonderful thank you so much.

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