The Four Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz gives a beautiful framework for living a happy, guilt free productive life. He shows us how to avoid many of life’s pitfalls and how by living these four agreements our lives become guilt free, happy and productive:
The first agreement: Be impeccable with your word. This first agreement is by far the most difficult. Our word is our creative power. It encompasses our ability to think, express and communicate. Our word is like a two edged sword. It can create our most treasured dream, or it can destroy everything around us. Our word can set us free or enslave us.
Now let’s examine the meaning of the word impeccable. Impeccable comes from the Latin word pecatus which means “sin”. The ‘im’ in impeccable means ‘without,” so impeccable means “without sin.” According to Don Miguel Ruiz, “A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything. Being without sin is exactly the opposite. Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge of blame yourself. From this point of view the whole concept of sin changes from something moral to something commonsense. Sin begins with rejection of yourself. Self-rejection is the biggest sin you commit. Self-rejection leads to death. Impeccability, on the other hand leads to life.”
Believe in yourself and do not let other’s negativity stop this belief. And make sure your word for others is filled with love and encouragement. Remember, you can live in a heaven in the middle of thousands of people living in hell because you are immune to that hell. You can have a heaven on earth when you become impeccable with your word.
The Second Agreement: Don’t take anything personally. Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. When someone says unkind things about you, it’s not about you….it’s about them. You can only take it personally if you agree with them. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is always because of themselves. Taking things personally makes you easy prey for predators. But if you do not take it personally you are immune to the poison of self-doubt.
We must not take praise personally. Everyone speaks from their own point of view. If others are having a great day, they will praise you, but on a bad day, they will put you down. Be true to yourself. Your strength comes from within. Do what your heart tells you to do and do it the best you can knowing you have given your best. Only you can be you. You are unique and you see the world from your own point of view. Know that you are wonderful and it is not necessary to believe others when they tell you how wonderful you are. Don’t take anything personally. By taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer and become dependent on the praise of others. Peace comes from within. Choose to follow your heart always.
The Third Agreement: Don’t make assumptions. As humans we have a tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumption is we believe they are true. Often we make assumptions about what other are doing or thinking and we take those assumptions personally. Then we react by blaming and creating a lot of totally unnecessary drama. Don Miguel Ruiz says; “All the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. Take a moment to consider the truth of this statement. The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.”
It is always better to ask questions than to make assumptions because assumptions set us up for suffering. One of the biggest problems in relationships is believing we know what our partners are thinking. We think they understand what we are thinking. We assume they are going to do what we want because they know us so well. If they don’t do what we assume they should do, we feel hurt and say, “They should have known.” The problem is we need to ask questions and we need to convey what we want and or need from our partners.
Never assume anyone knows what you think. Be open. Ask questions and let others know what is important to you. A lot of grief and hurt can be avoided if we just take the time to talk to one another. Many divorces would be averted if we stopped making assumptions and just sat down and discussed our core beliefs and life goals.
We never need to justify love; it is there or not there. Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them. If we feel we must change them we don’t really like them. Find someone who you don’t have to change. If that person loves you, then they do not need to change you either.
The Fourth Agreement: Always do your best. Under all circumstances, always do your best. But keep in mind that your best in never going to be the same from one moment to the other. Everything is alive and changing, so one day your best will be of much higher quality than another day. Take care of your health and give yourself what you need to remain healthy and invigorated. When you are well rested your efforts will be much better than when you are feeling run down and tired.
Just do your best in any circumstance in your life. Do your best because it is who you are and by so doing you will live your life intensely. You will be productive. You will be good to yourself because you will be giving yourself to your family and your community and to everything you do. When you do your best you take action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Do what you love to do and happiness will be your reward. When you can say, “I did my best” you have no regrets. Do your best because you want to do it not because you have to do it. Never do your best to impress other people. Do your best it is who you are.
For now, Earlynn’s just sayin’ “I have only briefly described this great book. If you live these four agreements, it will change your life for the better.”
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