The Four Agreements
I’m having a day, friends. A not good day. As I sit in my cube shoveling Star Wars mac and cheese with a can of tuna tossed in (I’m a horrible officer dweller, I know) looking at what all I have to do and what I haven’t done...I’m not doing well. I overslept, missed my run, put on a dress that newly fits (yay!), made a blueberry muffin in a mason jar to go with the rest of my perfectly planned and packed meals for the day, and headed off to work. Stepping out of my car I grabbed my purse, laptop bag with too many books and notebooks, my lunchbox, left my gym back and started walking. It all felt so heavy. I felt heavy.
I wasn’t weighed down by my excessive amount of bags, it was the feeling of failure and the fear of it. Why though? Because I missed one run? Because I hadn’t finished this post? Because I took longer to learn a new process this week than I wanted to? My inner dialogue started talking faster and faster:
"You're a mess,"
"You aren't doing enough,"
"You're failing again,"
"Everyone knows you can't do this and they're right."
I talked myself into my own fresh hell. The idea that we create this hell for ourselves by agreeing to it and that we can change our state by forming new agreements is the premise of Don Miguel Ruiz’ The Four Agreements.
High Level It For Me
We go through life suffering because we have agreements in place that keep us from being happy. By removing these and following four new agreements we allow ourselves to find peace and happiness. Don Miguel Ruiz challenges us to:
Be Impeccable with our word
Not take anything personally
Not make assumptions
Do our best
The word is not just a sound or written symbol. The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life.
Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.
All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally.
Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything.
Should I read this?
Yes. Then read it again. Then read it and highlight it. Not a reader? Fine. Watch John January talk about it during a Kansas City CreativeMornings. Full disclosure this talk is what inspired me to read the book, it being required reading for my teacher training just expedited the process. I would be hard pressed to believe anyone wouldn’t have an “IT ME” moment while reading this book. If you battle with your inner critic, with how you interact in difficult situations, if you just want to change how approach things, this is a solid read.
Every moment is a chance to practice these new agreements. The hardest part is starting with applying them to my relationship with myself. If I look at this morning I know following the four agreements would have created an entirely different day. When I'm impeccable with my word I don’t berate myself for sleeping, my body clearly needed to rest. When I don’t take anything personally I know events simply exist, they don't determine my worth. When I don't make assumptions I don’t assume judgement from others that I internalize. Finally, when I know I’m doing my best that’s all I can ask of myself, and can live fully in that moment.