Living The Four Agreements



Welcome back. This is a brief summary and my take on living The Four Agreements. This is a book written by Don Miguel Ruiz and published in 1997. It is a small book that is easy to read and can be completed in a couple of days. It is called a Toltec Wisdom book and the story in the introduction is about how the knowledge was hidden when the European colonizers invaded and was passed down in secret. 

Just by itself, Ruiz’s story is amazing. I won’t retell it here, but like many of us the cares of the world got to him and he left his family to seek fame and fortune. But he saw what needed to be done and returned to learn the old ways from his grandfather. 

Ruiz says that we become domesticated first by our parents and immediate family and then by the rest of the world. We all have The Four Agreements within us but we lose them through this domestication process. we start living in the world, not in our spirit.

We became distracted as children because the adults in our lives focused our attention on the things that they wanted us to be and do. And what we have to do to be free is to challenge those beliefs that were programmed into us from an early age. 

Ruiz says this, “all of humanity is searching for truth, justice, and beauty. We are on an eternal search for the truth because we only believe in the lies we have stored in our mind… We keep searching and searching when everything is already within us there is no truth to find. Wherever we turn our heads, all we see is truth, but with the agreements and beliefs we have stored in our mind we have no eyes for this truth.”

Everything we believe may be right, but it also may be wrong. Until we examine what we believe and begin to become free, we will never know. We have to have the courage to break the old agreements because The Four Agreements are livable for all of us… if we want them.

Agreement 1: Be Impeccable with your word

This seems obvious, doesn’t it? Who goes out one day and says, “I’m just going to lie to myself?” Well, no one, obviously. But that’s what we do because that is how we were trained. We were judged by our parents, our teachers, and others. This gave us a belief system of how the world views us and how we view and treat ourselves. 

The word impeccable means without fault or without sin. Think about that for a second, then think about how you talk to yourself. Most people have an inner critic that tells them how good or bad they are doing regularly. Ruiz talks about how words have the power of creation. He writes this, “What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.”

What do you dream for yourself? The words you use when you talk about your future can show you what you really believe about yourself. You can change the way your inner critic by what you say to yourself. Learn to say good things about yourself and your future. 

If you can’t find anything good to say about yourself, find some affirmations to say. Look for quotes or scriptures that can remind you that you are loved and cared for. Don’t lie to yourself and tell yourself you’re worthless. Use your words to remind yourself who you really are and that you are loved.

The last part of that, “what you really are will be manifested through your word.” means the more you say bad things about yourself, the worse you’re going to feel. You’re going to manifest the bad into your life. Have you ever seen someone who is miserable all the time? Did someone you know just pop into your mind? You know people like this right? And you don’t want to spend time with them. become impeccable with your word and you will begin to see a change in your life. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Learn to tell yourself the true good things about yourself. Be willing to make the first step and be impeccable with your word.

Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Of the Four Agreements, this one has been the hardest for me to grasp. I used to say I don’t care what anyone thinks about me. What I really meant was I care deeply about what everyone thinks about me. I spent a large part of my life learning to be a chameleon so that everyone I came into contact with would like me. so I did exactly the opposite of agreement number two and I took everything personally. But I put on a facade that I didn’t care.

If you remember everyone has their own set of agreements they have made with the world. They have thoughts and beliefs that may or may not match yours because everyone was raised or programmed differently. Most people spend most of their time worrying about what others think about them. We live in a self absorbed society that is fixated on self. When we take things personally, we are easily triggered by any perceived slight. Real or imagined.

Don Miguel writes, “If someone gives you an opinion and says, ‘Hey, you look fat’, don’t take it personally because the truth is that this person is dealing with his or her own feelings, beliefs, and opinions.”

When we take what others say personally, it gives them a chance to infect us with their poison. With their words they use to harm others. Think about this: most people are hurting. You’ve heard the saying “hurting people hurt people”. It’s true. People who are hurt want you to hurt with them. Some people set out every day setting a trap in their emotion so that someone will trigger it and they can act out. Most people aren’t like this. They don’t even realize they’re hurt. But when they react to an imagined slight, you can see how hurt they really are.

When you stop taking things personally, you can see that it’s not about you. It’s about the other person and the agreements they have made with themselves. As you begin to step back and take responsibility for how you act and react, you will stop being a victim. You can see things from the other person’s point of view and live without being harmed by what they think.

Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions

Have you ever been in a relationship? Has the person you were in the relationship not contacted you when they said they would? Have they not called or texted and you thought they were mad or wanted to end the relationship? Or, has someone posted something cryptic on social media and you thought they were talking to you? Then you have made assumptions. 

I think by now you can start to see that these first three agreements really build on each other. Agreement one helps you to start to focus on how you see yourself. Agrement two helps you to see that what people say doesn’t have to harm you. And agreement three shows you that just because you think it, it’s not true. 

The author says this, “In any kind of relationship we can make the assumption that others know what we think and we don’t have to say what we want. They are going to know what we want because they know us so well.”

Whether it’s your fiance or your boss or your children, no one can read your mind. When you assume people know what you’re thinking, you assume they are mind readers. Remember agreement number two: everyone is focused on themselves, not you.

The way to get around making assumptions is to ask questions. When your significant other doesn’t call on time you can ask yourself, do I really believe they don’t like me? This can show you how you think about yourself as much as anything. 

If there is a misunderstanding at work, you can ask for clarification. If your boss gives you an assignment, ask the questions you need to; to make sure you have the assignment clear. 

We can also make assumptions about ourselves. We can greatly overestimate what we can or can not do. This activates our inner critic and we can start down the road to negative self talk breaking agreement one. The way to get around this is an honest self appraisal. Knowing yourself and what your assets and limitations are can help you stop making assumptions about yourself. Asking questions can help you stop making assumptions about others.

Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best

This seems petty self explanatory, but how many times do we cut a corner on a job or leave work early without finishing the tasks we needed to get done that day? Let’s get more personal. How many times have you put off doing something like go to the gym or work on your blog to watch more Netflix or YouTube? Doing your best isn’t just for work, it’s for yourself.

In agreement one, we learned about the inner critic or inner judge. When we always do our best, we can quieten the inner critic. It won’t have anything to say about our work. It won’t be able to say you should have done this or why didn’t you do that? Because you have already done what you needed to do.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying. You can’t keep this up 100 percent of the time. We all need good rest and good nutrition. You need downtime and vacations. This isn’t about hustle culture it’s about being your authentic self. 

Ruiz writes, “You can only be you when you do your best. When you don’t do your best, you are denying yourself the right to be you.“

Your authentic self is who you were created to be. To live life to the fullest and be the best and only version of you there can ever be. 

Living The Four Agreements

I talk about living life on purpose. The Four Agreements are a great way to do that. They give us suggestions on how to be intentional about what we say, how we receive input from others, how we think, and how we participate in the world.

In order to start living the four agreements we can.

  • Start looking at what old agreements you have made with yourself and with the world you live in.
  • Let go of the past.
  • Make a pact with yourself to start living on purpose. Living free from outside influences and others’s opinions. 

Alright, that’s all for this week. 

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