Finding freedom from false beliefs would be bliss, not so? Have you ever sat down and thought about how our thoughts create all the problems in our worlds? How our false beliefs rule our lives? Have you ever thought about how your own self-limiting beliefs could be the root cause of your addictions or habitual patterns?
Which is why I bought The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is about changing our lives using affirmations and living our lives according to those affirmations. Not just saying them to our mirror images but doing them.
The book reminds us that our thoughts rule us, yet they are meaningless. Energy that comes and goes. Our thoughts get our hearts racing and cause us untold grief every day. I need a chocolate, I need a cigarette, I need a drink because life is so hard. I am so busy and so stressed. I hate my boss; I hate my husband/wife/friend because they said this and that and the next thing. Kick the cat, throw a wobbly, shout and scream. What does it all mean? Our thoughts are nothing.
Let’s look at the four agreements one by one:
Agreement 1: Be Impeccable with your Word
Words are powerful. It is how we use that words that create their power. If your words are always impeccable, that leaves no room for error. Who do you know who speaks flawlessly, faultlessly? I cannot think of anyone, quite frankly. Maybe the Dalai Lama?
We all speak from a place of our own egos. Our own views and opinions. How can we change our speech to be kind and generous? How do we change our inner speech to move away from the self-blame and the self-rejection?
“The word is all about the message you deliver, not just to everyone and everything around you, but the message you deliver to yourself.” Take responsibility for your thoughts because they rule your actions.
Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally
One of the most negative of human traits is that we take things personally. Much depression is caused by this emotion. Remember that what other people do has NOTHING to do with you. Despite the rude emails and texts you get, the rude guy in the traffic, the accusing shop assistant, this is not your problem. This is their problem.
If someone is angry with you it is usually because they are angry with themselves. In marriage, the accusing and blame usually comes from the festering thoughts inside the person doing the blaming and accusing. Their own lack of self-love.
Are you that person blaming and getting angry with others? Why? What is wrong with your life? What can you do to change that? If someone hurts you, step away. Give it back to them. You rightfully do not deserve to be hurt.
“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally. Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”
Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions
Have you ever assumed that someone thinks negatively about you? I do that all the time. I get so triggered by what I think people are thinking about me. Then I just want to hide. When we make assumptions, it reveals our own false, self-limiting beliefs. Our assumptions are not the truth but we assume they are!
Avoid assumptions by communicating clearly. Ask questions, speak your own truth. Tell your partner you are hurt when they don’t listen or come home late. Ask you friend why she texted you that message? Never assume something that is unreal and really was never meant in the first place.
“When one assumes what others are thinking, it can create stress and interpersonal conflict because the person believes their assumption is a representation of the truth.”
Agreement 4: Always do Your Best
We tell our kids every day – always do your best. You may not be the straight A student, I tell my kids, and I am glad you are not the perfect angel child – but always do your best. We can also practice this as adults. Take action no matter what it is – do your best as a partner, a mother, a daughter, a son, a friend.
Do your best in the kitchen cooking, at work or when driving. Do your best when paying the cashier, getting fuel or feeding the dog. Just do it. Our best is nothing to do with others. If your boss is winning awards for bravery, that is his life. If your son’s best friend is going to America for a work experience, that is his best. If your child can only find a personal best in swimming one length of the pool, that is their amazing!
Give 100% in all spheres of your life, all day. “You’re always giving 100 percent — that’s always your intention — it’s just that your best is always changing. From one moment to the next, you are never the same. You are alive and changing all the time, and your best is also changing from one moment to the next.”
What is your take-away from this blog? Do you practice the Four Agreements without even realising it? Or are you going to start now, doing your best to tackle them? Ruiz has a message for all of us: if we can tackle the Four Agreements, we will live a life free from sorrow and self-ridicule. Life will flow.
Remember: it is what it is.