One of my favorite reads is a Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, a short, poignant and profound read by Don Miguel Ruiz “The Four Agreements.” This book is my daily reminder to live in my heart space of compassion to myself and to let go thoughts of what does not serve me, go. It is simpler than that, however. It breaks down how to approach daily situations on a fundamental and elementary level (so much so that even a first grader can understand it). I am writing a short summary of The Four Agreements and a few solid take-aways.
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word.
Pretty much, be honest, truthful and follow through with what you say you are going to do. My yoga teacher, Anthony, used to say, “be so impeccable, that if you say chair pose, a chair literally falls out of your mouth.” I truly believe that. Don’t flake. Don’t say words or statements that are not necessary, kind or true. Use the power of words to build yourself and others up. Re-frame from gossiping or lying. If it does not apply to all of the above, just stay mindfully quiet. People who listen are always learning. People who constantly talk are just repeating what they know.
The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally
This is a very good agreement to have written on a post-it and placed in your purse, car or work station. Ruiz says that letting situations around you affect you negatively is to trap yourself in personal importance, which is the maximum expression of selfishness because you are assuming things are about you. Don’t take the responsibility for other’s feelings and actions. Free yourself from feeling offended or wronged. It’s not you, it’s them 🙂
The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
“95% of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all those lies.” says Ruiz. Ruiz reminds us that it is always better to communicate and talk about situations that do not make us feel good, rather than making assumptions, because assumptions set us up for suffering. Unless you are a mind reader, save yourself the angst, difficulties, sleepless nights and misunderstandings and ask questions. Not everyone sees situations like the way we do, feel the way we do, and judge the way we judge. Talk it out, don’t assume.
The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best
Not just a parent mantra for their children, this is a universal mantra to human kind. I really honor this agreement, because of the way Ruiz frames it. He says, “When you do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward or feel obligated.” This is the difference between people who wake up and say “Yes” to the day verses people who say “Oh, no.” Lastly, action is about living fully, expressing who you are and what you find passion in, how you express your dreams, goals and truly how to live. That’s where the happiness lies. That’s where truth and authenticity lies. That is where we should live. Always do your best.