I just finished reading The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. The book describes how our minds and personalities are formed by our parents, siblings, neighbors and other people that we spent our early years with. The book is designed to help the reader understand that they have the power to create their best possible life just be changing a few things about themselves. We cannot change others, only ourselves. So that is what we must focus on.
There are many great takeaways from the book. One of my favorites is that each of us is living our own lives. We have ourselves in mind when we communicate with others. We are speaking from the perspective of ourselves and it comes from the life that we have lived, not the life that you have lived. I think this is extremely helpful when we are trying to communicate and be in a relationship with everyone in our lives.
Even someone as close to us as a sibling. A person that grew up in the same time period, under the same roof and with many of the same influences as you may have a completely different perspective on life as you do. Why? Because they are living their life and not yours.
Here are the Four Agreements.
- Be Impeccable with Your Word.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions.
- Always Do Your Best.
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Never gossip, never judge or talk about someone in a negative way. In fact, only speak of people from a positive and helpful point of view. Try to remove all negativity from your speech. Others will see this and will respect and appreciate you and will want to share their time with you.
2. Don’t take Anything Personally.
Because of the fact that we are all living our own lives with thoughts that were formed by others that were living their own lives it is impossible to understand where a person is coming from when they speak to us. Taking things personally removes ourselves from the equation. When a person says or writes something that we take personal we are suggesting that we know exactly what they are saying when in fact, because we don’t know their history, we have no idea from where they are coming from.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
Assuming things will only get us into trouble. How often do we assume something and then let our minds run with it without ever talking with the person we have made the assumption about. As time goes on we find that we have completely drifted away from the other person despite the fact that there was never a discussion. As soon as a negative assumption is made we must either realize we are not thinking clearly or reach out to the person and communicate.
4. Always Do Your Best.
In every situation, every time, always do your best. When you are with your kids, be the best mother or father you can be. When at work, be the best you can be. When playing, play your best. The idea here is that you can always look at yourself and be proud of the person you are. There is never any need to become defensive or feel self doubt because you always gave your best.
These Four Agreements are often very difficult to maintain. It takes a long time before it becomes second nature. You will fail. It’s OK, pick up the pieces and try again tomorrow. Your life will change if you implement these agreements. You will have less unnecessary fights and more love shared between you and others. You will have more appreciation for others as well as more respect for yourself. You will soon see that this new way of approaching life will provide a much more meaningful and enjoyable existence.