Don’t Take Anything Personally

In Michael Ruiz book The Four Agreements, the second agreement is Don’t Take Anything Personally. This may be the agreement that we as humans make with others and with ourselves and one of the most destructive to our lives.

We make agreements with others and with ourselves from the day we are born taking things personally. As a baby, someone in our lives may continually tell us that we are “such a pretty baby”, “such a smart baby”, “such a happy baby” or in some cases “such a slow learner”, “such a slow walker” “cry all the time”. We as humans make agreements with what is being said and if we believe those agreements we embody those things and they become who we are. If we believe we are pretty, smart, and happy because we agreed and took personally what someone else said – this becomes our reality. If we believe we are stupid, slow, and unhappy because we agreed and took personally what someone else said – this becomes our reality.

In the Four Agreements, Ruiz states something over and over – Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Read that statement again. Now say it out loud. Now make an agreement with yourself that this is the truth. Nothing anyone else says or does is because of you. It is because of their own agreements, emotions, truths. Not yours. It only becomes yours after you agree with them and begin to believe it as truth.

We make agreements with ourselves in the same way. The things that we tell ourselves everyday, over and over, we choose to agree or disagree with, we choose to believe or to not believe. Almost all of these things have their root in something someone else has said or done to us and we have already agreed, so the belief is already started in our minds. We water it with repeating it, with believing it, with becoming it until it grows into a tree in our minds with deep roots that are hard to move.

How can we make changes to agreements we have made for years with others and ourselves? First, we must become aware of the things we have agreed to and confront those that need to change. Second, we must want to change more than we want to stay as we are. Third, we must have patience. Undoing trees with deep roots takes time and work, hard work. And fourth, we must repeat, repeat, repeat to ourselves as many times as it takes the replacement agreement we want to make. Such as, the old agreement – I am stupid and the new agreement – I can learn to do anything or it was my fault with I did the best I could at the time.

Remember,nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. Don’t take anything personally. The second step of freedom on the path of the Four Agreements.

Until next time,


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Be Impeccable

In Michael Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements the first agreement is Be Impeccable With Your Word.  It is first because it is the most important and the one that is necessary to be able to accomplish the other three.

To understand this agreement, it is necessary that to understand the definition of “word” in this context.  The Word (capital W) is a force that we create with and includes all that we express.  Not just spoken words, but emotions, actions, thoughts, and attitudes. All of this is the Word.

To express ourselves impeccably means to express ourselves in the direction of truth and love including love, respect, and acceptance for ourselves.  The emotions of jealousy, envy, sadness, and frustration are not impeccable.  The emotions of anger and fear are also usually not impeccable except in the case of having to fight for your life.  If you lose your job something you have worked your whole life to have and are angry and fearful, these are emotionally painful, but your life is not in danger therefore these emotions are not impeccable.

The direction of truth does not include someone speaking “my truth” or “their truth”.  Those kinds of truth are only someone’s opinion of the truth, not necessarily the truth and are viewed by others under the lens of their own truth.  Because someone believes what they are saying is the truth doesn’t mean it is THE truth.  It is an opinion that can be filled with judgments and hard emotions.  When you are impeccable you do not need to defend what you say as the truth.

Another part of being impeccable is to be without fault or blame.  Truly one of the hardest things to accomplish.  It has taken years for us to form the agreements we have made with ourselves and others regarding our own fault, the fault of others, and the blame we have placed for every situation in our lives.  Being impeccable means to refrain from criticism, judgement, or finding fault with yourself and others not just in the words you speak but the thoughts that you think.  This single change allows us to take total responsibility for our own lives.

Being impeccable also leads into the second agreement Never Take Anything Personally.  For example, if you have 100% faith in your intelligence and someone calls you stupid and you feel hurt or offended, you have allowed yourself to take that personally and believe even a tiny bit of what they said is true.  You give them the power to change your faith in yourself.  Be impeccable with your Word to yourself.

Being impeccable means to be truthful, honest, and kind in what is spoken, what is done, what is thought, and what is felt.  It sounds easy, but it is difficult to undo the years of learning to use our Word to be dishonest and unkind to ourselves and others.  Learning to be impeccable is a one moment at a time journey that requires thinking before talking to ourselves or others, doing to ourselves or others, thinking to ourselves or about others, or emotions we place on ourselves or others.  Will you be able to be impeccable always? No – but you can keep trying in each moment of your life and by doing so the happiness and love for yourself and others will only increase.

The Four Agreements:

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Don’t Make Assumptions

Always Do Your Best


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.

The Four Agreements written by Miguel Ruiz is a wealth of life changing information. Miguel Ruiz was raised by his mother and grandfather in Mexico. His mother was a “healer” and his grandfather was a “shaman” in the Toltec Indian culture. Miguel had a life altering car crash that moved his path back towards his cultural heritage and out of that came this wonderful book.

Ruiz writes that from the time we are born we are making agreements. Agreements with our parents for what we learn, what we eat, how we live, and about who we are. We make agreements with everyone we come into contact with through our lives – people, social media, television, music, etc.. Some of these agreements can be positive and uplifting such as “you are smart, you are loved, you can succeed.” Some, however, can be negative such as “you are stupid, you can not succeed, you are worthless.” It is in these agreements that we form all the things we believe about ourselves. Over years and years of making these agreements, it becomes very difficult to break them.

It is because of these agreements that we judge ourselves, find ourselves guilty and punish ourselves. We abuse ourselves more than anyone else could ever abuse us. If we abuse ourselves very badly, we can tolerate someone who beats us up, humiliates us, and treats us like dirt. Why? Because in our agreements and beliefs we think “I deserve it. This person is doing me a favor by being with me. I’m not worthy of love and respect. I’m not good enough.” We have the need to be accepted and loved by others, but we cannot accept and love ourselves.

There are thousands of agreements we have made with ourselves, with God, with society, with our parents, with our families, with our friends, but the most important agreements are those we make with ourselves because they define our beliefs about who we are, what we feel, what we believe, and how we behave. One agreement is easy to break, but thousands are very difficult.

In order to find joy and fulfillment in life, we must find the courage to break these agreements that are fear-based and claim our personal power. If you adopt these four agreements and have a very strong will, you can begin to live your life with these agreements creating personal power to break all other agreements and transform your life.

Click the link in the right hand column to read more about this book and start on the path to transforming your life. I incorporate this book into many of my therapy sessions. If you think you could benefit from counseling with this as part of the process, please contact me to set up an appointment.

Until next time, I wish you peace…


New Office!!

Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC has an office! I will take over the office space on June 5, 2017. The address for the office is:

520 Wicks Lane Suite 8B
Billings, MT 59105

I am scheduling appointments NOW to start in mid June 2017. The available appointments at that time will be:

Monday – Friday 7AM, 8AM, 9AM
Saturday 8AM, 9AM, 10AM, 11AM, 12PM

Appointments are scheduled for 50 minutes in length. You may pay for your appointment ahead of time on Facebook Pay for Appointment or pay at the time of your appointment at the office or have insurance billed for your appointment.

Request An Appointment

The practice will specialize in adolescent counseling, however counseling for adults is also available. To see the types of counseling offered visit Counseling Services Offered

Private Practice Opening Soon!

Mindful Montana Wellness will be opening for business very soon! Individual, family, and group sessions for adolescents and adults using a variety of therapeutic approaches to provide help, hope, guidance, and understanding.

Areas of therapy include:

Anger Management
Behavior Issues
Family Issues
Grief and Loss
Life Coaching
Oppositional/Defiant Behaviors
Mood disorders
Relationship Issues
….and more

Therapeutic Modalities include:

Art Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Family Therapy
Interpersonal Therapy
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
Psychodynamic Therapy
….and more

Therapeutic intervention is provided by Deborah Horton, M.Ed., PCLC, PSC. Deborah is licensed in professional clinical counseling in Montana and also K-12 school counseling in Montana. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Montana State University Billings in July 2016. Since that time, she has provided clinical counseling to adolescents in individual, family, and group sessions.

If you would like to schedule therapeutic services, please contact Deborah at or visit her on Facebook at or you can Request An Appointment

Thank You For Being Kind

warm fuzzy 2

For the last couple of years working in a high school, I have been trying to find some way to thank students for being kind.  So much time is spent on what students do wrong, in school and out, and hardly any is spent on the things they do right.  No act of kindness is ever wasted, but in our society of “what awful thing is happening right now” kindness is not very often recognized.  Media outlets traffic in tragedy, disaster, evil, and shocking, if it truly is even possible to shock people anymore, events.  Kindness if it is recognized at all is something they throw in for a second or two after we have been sufficiently inundated with the horrific.

In schools, often times, it is the students who present challenges for teachers and staff that are talked about most.  They are the students seen in the principal’s offices most.  They are the students the media creates stories around.  They are the students everyone sees and hears about.  An assistant principal can spend the better part of the day in a high school dealing with discipline issues.  It can become what those who work in schools look for and the thought of looking for kindness doesn’t cross the mind.

Believe it or not, there are kind children who attend high school.  I know many people may not believe this to be true because of all they read and hear, but I have seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.  I think it’s past time to start to see this behavior more and perhaps we would see less of the less desirable behavior.

Encouraging kindness allows more kindness to grow and in the pay it forward fashion to reach out onto the strings that connect us all.  In that spirit, something I saw on Facebook last week has become my idea in action for my new office in the counseling department.  The Warm Fuzzy jar idea HERE will be transformed into this idea.  I am not going to label the jar as a “kindness” jar.  I will get some kind of jar and will likely apply some kind of appropriate Bronc Nation design and have it on the desk.  Whenever I hear or see a student showing kindness, I will have them fill out a small slip of paper with their name on the front and the kindness they showed on the back.  These will be placed into the jar and at the end of each week (if I can find someone to donate little gifts to give like cards for food places or some other little gifts), I will draw out a slip and that person will receive one of the little gifts.  The slips will then be placed on some kind of display board all about kindness with the acts of kindness showing for all to see who come in the office.  And each week, we will start the jar anew.

Being kind is such an easy thing to do, but it is not often enough the chosen thing to do.  Sometimes it isn’t easy to be kind.  If you are a student who is homeless, struggling with family issues, fighting substance abuse, or just trying to get through freshman Biology with a passing grade – kindness might not be the first reaction.  But if society is to ever have less of the horrible, kindness must become the first reaction and it must be encouraged in others in order to grow within ourselves.  “Be kind to everyone you meet, you never know what battles they are fighting.”


Welcome to my new site Deborah Horton Counseling, which will feature articles, links, tools you can use, information, and more including my journey to become a School and LCPC counselor in Montana.  I am still currently on the journey to becoming licensed with just 3 more Master’s level semesters, which include my school internships and clinic internships, for my 60 hour School/Clinic Counseling Masters degree.

On this site, I will share my thoughts and experiences along with links to information for those seeking counseling and those who are either currently counselors or working to become counselors.  I will also share tools that those seeking counseling can use including some helpful apps and tools for counselors to use in their practices as well.  Along the way I will share my journey with you as well.

If you would like to follow this blog, just click the Follow icon in the sidebar.  Please also feel free to follow Deborah Horton Counseling on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that is also listed in the sidebar.

I look forward to our journey together!