In this week’s Blog I want to talk about one of my favorite books. The Four Agreements was given to me by a friend about 12 years ago. It is by don Miguel Ruiz. I was looking for it on my book shelf the other day, and I could not find it. I am not surprised because if I love something, I have a tendency to lend it out and may or may not see it again!
I feel that this book will speak to anyone that reads it. It is so simple but so deep. The book is a short read also, and it is one that you could read over and over. The Four Agreements are so simple yet so difficult. Listed below are Ruiz’s Four Agreements.
The Four Agreements are:
1. Be Impeccable with your Word: This reminds me of Mindful Speech that I learned at Naropa University. This agreement helps me to pause and really think about what I want to say to people. I also use this in reference when I am tempted to gossip and to say something when my gut says, “Meg’n Don’t Say that!”
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: People are coming at you from their own filters or their own experiences. This one has been the most challenging agreement for me. When people are rude towards me, or are acting towards me in a negative or mean spirited way, my first response has been, “Why are you treating me this way?” These days I am more able to depersonalize other people’s behavior. I try and look at the situation and I try and step into the other person’s shoes and notice what may be going on for them. Furthermore I have worked on noticing my personal judgments or biases and work on neutralize them.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions: I am trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and it teaches to not make assumptions but to look at the facts of the situation. I often think about this agreement and combine it with some DBT and together it works! If in doubt I ask questions. “Did you mean this when you said that?” Often times I find out that I am miss reading the situation or miss-heard the situation.
4. Always Do Your Best: The way I have thought about this one is that it is great for us to do our best! But I keep in mind what is doing your best can be dependent on the day. If you have not slept well for a few days and you are fighting a cold, then what is your best in that moment? I love the days when we are on fire and are having a great day! Those days are easy to do your best, and sometimes are best while fighting a cold may look a bit different, and that is ok.
Read The Four Agreements. And remember there are very simple, and they are not easy to follow through on, so if you find yourself breaking an agreement, just take a few deep belly breaths and try again.