I really love my cats. Like really love them. I’d like to think that I ‘own’ them, but I know that’s not true. They own me. Seriously. They own me. They have me wrapped around their cute little paws and tails. If they want to be petted, I pet them. If they cry for food, I feed them. If they get upset about the cat box and pee outside the box, I clean their litter box. I’m completely owned.
That’s not what I wanted to talk about today though. I want to talk about what I’ve learned from my cats.Many years ago, a friend of mine suggested I read this book called “The Four Agreements” by don Miguel Ruiz. In it are these four agreements that when taken seriously and applied to one’s life, can change your life and make it more beautiful. If you haven’t read it, I highly suggest it.
Anyway….Here are the four agreements.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always Do your best.
So what do The Four Agreements have to do with cats?
Well, I was recently reading the Four Agreements again and one of my cats, Odin, decided he would interrupt me. He does this when I’m reading, cooking, sleeping, doing yoga and pretty much any other time that he feels I am not paying enough attention to him.
So I stop reading because he actually knocked the book out of my hand (see, I am owned), and while I’m petting him, I’m thinking about the book. A particular part of the book….the second agreement: Don’t take things personally.
Cats are the living embodiment of this agreement. They are incapable of taking things personally. I was looking at Odin and I suddenly understood that agreement. He’s a cat and he does not take things personally…ever.
For example, he and one of my other cats don’t get along. Why don’t they get along? I have no idea, but the other cat, Little MacBoo, she does not like him. If she sees him, she growls and hisses. At least once a day, she growls at him. Guess what he does. Nothing. He does nothing. Sometimes he will give her a passing glance, flick his tail casually and just walk away from her like ‘eh, whatever.’ Other times, he just stands there and stares at her with indifference. He does not take it personally that she does not like him.
Another thing that the cats do is they will get into these little spats. Two of them will be playing or lounging and then suddenly out of the blue, one of the two decides they do not like what’s going and will attack the other. Usually there is some meowing and a bit of clawing until one or the both of them run away. Now, that’s not the amazing part. What’s amazing is after some time has passed, like 20 minutes or several hours later, they are best friends again as if the fight never occurred. No one took the fight personally and everyone lives happily ever after.
Taking things personally is one of the biggest challenges I think we all face as human beings. We want people to like us. We want to feel like we belong. We want to be loved and respected. When someone might say or do something to us that is hurtful, mean or spiteful, it’s very easy to take it personally and get angry, upset, hurt or feel slighted. I know first hand because I’ve spent many years of my life taking things personally that in retrospect, were not personal at all. I only made them personal because of my reaction to them.
Maybe we all should learn to be more like cats. Just flick our tails, walk away and not take shit personally cause none of it is personal.
And now it’s time to pet Odin since he just jumped on the desk and is trying to steal my pens again!