Living by The Four Agreements is a practice I strive to fulfill every day. I was turned onto this book by Oprah years ago when she still had her daily show. This is a small book filled with so much knowledge and power. Living by these four truths can change your life.
The Four Agreements – A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
The Four Agreements was written in 1997 by Don Miguel Ruiz. A surgeon turned shaman and eventually best selling author. His life was changed after a near-fatal car accident that prompted him to return to Mexico and study the Toltec wisdom of an ancient, indigenous people.
The book advocates personal freedom from beliefs and agreements that we have made with ourselves and others that are creating limitation and unhappiness in our lives. The Four Agreements are:
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
Always do your best.
Be Impeccable with your Word
How I Live this Truth…
To me, being impeccable with my word is all about speaking MY truth to others and to myself. Like all of the agreements, this one is hard to live fully everyday.
We all want to be honest with our friends and family. Sometimes that can be hard to do without hurting feelings or causing un-needed drama. The lesson I learned from this book, is that sometimes the best advice to give is NONE at all. We can’t change others and it is not are right to try to do so.
Avoiding the toxic trap of gossip is a big one for me. This is especially true when you work with others and want to feel like you belong. An easy way to avoid this is to not react and/or participate in negative talk or gossip. Literally walking away or changing the subject can put a stop to that type of toxicity.
Finally, this one is important to my personal well being and growth. Making sure that I don’t use damaging or negative words against myself. Whether I am speaking to myself internally or putting myself down in front of others. When I don’t use my words against myself, I can work on accepting myself without inner judgment or guilt.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
How Can it Not be Personal?
When you are an introvert and a bit of an em-path, like me, it is really hard to NOT take things personally. It’s difficult to not let yourself be affected by what others say to your or about you. Our egos are fragile and can dissolve like sugar in a cup of tea at the slightest criticism.
My first personal take away from this agreement is what someone says about me will only affect me if I believe it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Their personal life experiences have brought them to have these opinions.
Here is how don Miguel summarized just that way of thinking. “If you believe you are worth it, and someone says, “You don’t deserve that,” it doesn’t affect you because you don’t believe it. You agreed that you are worth it, so you just laugh about it, and say, “Oh sure,” but you don’t believe it. And because you don’t believe it, it will not affect you.” Read more: http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/how-to-live-the-four-agreements-qa-with-don-miguel-ruiz/all#ixzz5mKREJtzj
The other personal take away, I chose to believe, is as Ruiz says: “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” So if what other people say or do is all about them, why should I take it personally? It has noting to do with me. Just saying this out loud to myself right now is so freeing! Try it!
Don’t Make Assumptions…
Don’t Make an Ass out of U & Me…
I love this photo of me in a fire lane, because this agreement is one that I find myself parked in all the time. It is one of the agreements I struggle with the most. Lacking self confidence in myself and my own beliefs has always made me make assumptions on what others are doing or thinking.
Ruiz writes: “We make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking — we take it personally — then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word. That is why when we make assumptions, we’re asking for problems. We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing.”
The easiest fix for this is to have the courage to just ask questions! If you have ANY doubts on what someone is saying or what they are thinking just ask them to clarify. Just asking a simple question like, “Am I hearing you correctly?” can save you so much heartache and drama. And keep asking questions, if you need to, until things are crystal clear.
Always do Your Best
Living my Best Life with the Four Agreements
Being the oldest child, I think I have the “perfectionist” syndrome. I’ve been known to not even start a project or finish a project if I feel like it won’t be done “right.” With this type of attitude it is hard to live my “best” life if I can’t ever start really living it!
Ruiz tells us that: “Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time. So your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good.”
Learning to not be a martyr and to take personal responsibility for my own life has been another big lesson. Not blaming everyone else for my mistakes or slip ups is a lesson that I’m still learning. Rewriting our own personal beliefs can be a struggle. Especially when we have lived with those truths like they were the law are whole lives.
Want more of the Four Agreements?
You can get both of these books on Amazon here in print or for your Kindle here.
Read this great interview with Oprah and Don Miguel Ruiz from her Super Soul Sunday series here: http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/how-to-live-the-four-agreements-qa-with-don-miguel-ruiz/all#ixzz5mKJQ9Miq