There is a story about a Zen master who takes his student to the edge of a pond and asks him how many fish he sees.
The student looks in the pond and says, "I see ten."
The master says, "Good, now how many ponds do you see?"
The student is a bit surprised by the obvious question, but he answers, "There is one pond master." The master says, "Count again."
The student looks at the single pond in front of him and is perplexed by the question. After some time and reflection, he finds the answer. "Master, there are ten ponds. Each fish has their own pond through which they see the world."
The Zen story teaches that we each have our own unique and sometimes limited perspective on the world as a result of our experiences, upbringing, teachers, etc. (our own pond). It is from this place that we interact with others.
In the Four Agreements, A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, the second agreement says,
"Don't take things personally; What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be a victim of needless suffering."
When you don't take things personally, if someone hurts you, judges you, or is unkind, you will know that it is because they are seeing you through their limited perspective which is directly affected by their state of happiness or unhappiness. ie... They are projecting what is going on inside of their hearts and minds onto you.
Understanding this can help you avoid taking to heart what others think and say about you, which can leave you feeling wounded and unhappy. We are all ultimately responsible only for what goes on in our own minds and hearts.
Not taking things personally doesn't mean that you will not react or take action when someone hurts you, but you will be clear and responsible for the actions that you take. Sometimes the best action to take is to speak up against those who have hurt you, other times the best action is to just walk away.
Being hurt by another is never easy, but if we attack the one who hurt us or close our hearts in fear, we are perpetuating the belief that what was said or done was about us. In reality it is always a direct reflection of the person who said it and has nothing to do with us at all.
Forgiving another for the pain they have caused and having compassion for their limitations will help us to heal our wounds more quickly and move on.
Being aware and mindful of our own personal "pond" is a constant practice that when attended to will bring us more happiness, peace, love, and joy.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras