The Four Agreements
This isn’t so much a review as it is a life reminder for me regarding one of my favourite books that I read a few years ago. As we begin 2013 I wanted to take a moment to share this gem of a book because it offers insight and inspiration through 4 simple agreements. I have these 4 agreements posted on my wall now. They have guided me these last few years and may they continue to guide me in the years to come.
Don Miguel Ruiz lays down 4 simple agreements that while beautiful in their simplicity, are packed with meaning and empowerment. We all make silent agreements with ourselves that affect our day. Most of these agreements are lies we tell ourselves (too fat, too skinny, too ugly, no one loves me, I am powerless) and do us no good. So if we are making these negative agreements with ourselves on a daily basis, why not also throw in a few positive ones?
- Agreement 1 – Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
- Agreement 2 – Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
- Agreement 3 – Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
- Agreement 4 – Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
The first one is the hardest for me. As a book lover, words hold weight in my world – along with power. And with great power comes great responsibility. If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I believe words should be chosen carefully. With one word you can imprison someone, or set them free. It is this reason that Agreement 1 is the most important to me – because I find it the most difficult to keep. (Especially in email or texts! Just fuhgeddaboudit.)
I had a friend learn that lesson recently having experienced a conversation that got out of hand through texting and not too long ago I deleted an anxiety-word-filled message that I was close to sending to a group chat happening online. Messy words spill out of our mouths at an alarming rate when we experience those knee jerk reactions. And then you look back and get embarrassed because you said some pretty stupid things that either got you in trouble or made you look like a sucky-baby (which is the type of personality I tend to resort to when my knees jerk).
“Don’t talk. Think.” Rick Grimes said in a long ago episode of The Walking Dead. (God, anything to mention dreamy Rick Grimes hey?)
But I couldn’t agree more. Too often we blurt out crap. We react, we snap, we let our emotions speak for us…I know 2013 will be a year for me to stop and think. Which I have a good hold on already being an introvert and all.
The best thing about these 4 Agreements? Not one of them works without the other. Remember one, and you remember them all.
May 2013 be a year of doing our best!