About the book, Four Agreements and Good Practices in Making Agreements (with ourselves and others). Have you heard of The Four Agreements? I was browsing my bookshelves and came upon this gem. I thought it might be nifty to share my beneficial experiences about this book with you.
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a book that came out in 1997. It has been a great benchmark for my own self-development, and I thought it might have a bit of space in your life too.
The “Four Agreements” are:
- Always do your best.
- Do not make assumptions.
- Do not take anything personally.
- Be impeccable with your word.
As much as I wish I could be the author of such simple originality, I am not – but there is virtue and value in these four tenements. So if you could indulge me in a moment to expand upon these four agreements so sublimely spelled out by Ruiz, I’ve got thoughts (as usual, lol).
What the Four Agreements Mean
What this book did for me was helped categorize, simplify and compartmentalize how I function in society and in relationships. This was legendary for me, because being a natural-born hermit, sometimes mingling gets confusing and overwhelming for me. I suspect some of you might share my befuddlements when dealing with the public. So here we go in laying out the Four Agreements as posed by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book.
1) Always Do Your Best:
This one was a biggie for me. Why? Because Ruiz isn’t recommending we should all convert to perfectionism overnight. He’s not even suggesting that we should live up to perfect our ridiculously high standards. Nope. Ruiz illuminates this agreement in his book by saying that on any given day, we have a choice to do our best. Some days are diamonds, and some days are stones.
In other words, if you feel like a pile of poo one day, then respond by doing your best that day – maybe it’s not the best on a different day – but it’s good enough for a down day. Alternatively, if you are living large and in charge on another day, then crush it! Consider how you feel in any given moment, and do your best in that present time.
2) Do Not Make Assumptions:
OMGolly, this one was another whopper for me – especially in terms of saying “no” or making negotiations for work and services I render to others. Just because I’m thinking something, or I have a certain level of integrity, doesn’t mean everybody else holds to the same standards. Furthermore, everybody else has a different opinion from you, me, or anybody else. So if you put a statement or edict forth, never assume that your message is going to be understood – or MISunderstood for that matter.
The truth is, this world of 7+ billion souls is replete with diversity, and it’s rare for everybody to be 100% on board with what you or I am trying to convey. That said, Ruiz helped me understand that communication is a gift. Or, as I always say to myself, “Use your words, Avia!” – when misunderstandings happen (and they will) – communicate. Don’t assume that everybody is on the same page.
3) Don’t Take Things Personally:
OMGumdrops! At the risk of repeating myself here, this was yet another revolutionary concept for me. As a clairsentient, I was always super sensitive to the thoughts, feelings, and reactions of others from a young age. It took me (what felt like) a lifetime to figure out that other people are other people – and they are allowed their opinions.
Furthermore, I don’t need to be approved of, and neither do you. What’s more, taking things personally poses massive guesses. None of us truly know why someone is responding a certain way to what we’ve suggested or conveyed. So what’s the point of taking it personally? Be clear, be honest, maintain integrity, be yourself, and go forward without looking back. At least, that’s my takeaway from this agreement presented by Ruiz.
4) Be Impeccable With Your Word:
(I’ll spare you, and not go all ‘OMG’ again – but seriously, this is a goodie!). Okay, as a writer, I’m always driven to serve the best, and I’m always cooking up word-awesome sauce. According to the Oxford dictionary, impeccable means: Behaving, performing or appearing at the highest standard of propriety.
Now, that’s a little highfalutin’ for me, so in my world being impeccable with my word means transparency, honesty, and expressing myself with the purity of soul. Sure, I’m flawed and imperfect, but I really strive to write and communicate in a way that is (mostly) flawless and (definitely) authentic.
The Last Word on the Four Agreements
In these nutsy times, it is crucial to hold strong to these profound four agreements Ruiz has put forth for us. At the very least Don Miguel has simplified some pretty heavy-duty social concepts into bite-sized chunks that make life in society a bit more manageable.
So, what kind of agreements have you made? Are they in alignment with your ideals? How can you employ Ruiz’s agreements in your life for improvements and clarity?
Let’s face it, we are all under some stress right now. So let’s do our best to be our best, not make assumptions, not take things too personally, and be honorable with our words. Just thinkin’. As always, thanks for reading!
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