The Four Agreements

Who of us wouldn’t want the freedom to be who we truly are without worrying about what other people think?

I just finished the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and it is his opinion that if we follow these four agreements, we can indeed be much freer and therefore live a more joyful life.   Is there any one of us who hasn’t wished for this at some point in our lives?

The Four Agreements

Be impeccable with your word

By being impeccable with your word, Ruiz wants everyone to clearly understand how powerful our words are and how they can have a profound affect on others.   We must take much care to do no harm with the words we say and we do that by ensuring love and truth are behind each one.  Always speaking with integrity and saying only what we mean to say is paramount.  Ruiz demonstrates how gossiping is one of the most destructive forces that we create with our words and it should be avoided at all costs.  He also reminds us that we need to be kind to ourselves with our words and to refrain from using them against ourselves.  If we are clear and hold love in our minds when we speak, we are ensuring our words are always impeccable.

Don’t take anything personally

Ruiz reminds us that it is our responsibility not to take anything anyone else does personally.  What they do is a reflection of their own lives and their own reality.   Assigning meaning to what they say or do dismantles our own happiness and is not an accurate reflection of our own reality.   To avoid being a victim and second-guessing the meaning behind the action of others, it’s imperative not to take anything personally.  Knowing fully that we all do and say things that reflect our own lives can help us to remember that the actions of others are their reality and therefore nothing need be taken personally.

Don’t make assumptions

The agreement of not making assumptions refers to the importance of communicating clearly.  How many times do we take the facts of a situation and create a huge story behind them, full of assumptions and negative thoughts?  Ruiz reminds us that it is imperative to have the courage to ask questions if we need clarification.  As important as it is for us to ask honest questions, we also must communicate with others as clearly and forthright as possible, always remembering the first agreement of being impeccable with our word.   Ruiz states that with just this one agreement, a life can be transformed.

Always do your best

There are many times that we do a mediocre job at something and then regret it later.  Our lives are busy and we rush through things thinking that “just enough” is sufficient.   Ruiz shows how doing our best will always help us to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.  He also reminds us that our best is not always going to be the same.  There will be days when we are able to perform to a higher level than others, but that doesn’t matter.  As long as we are true to ourselves and can honestly say we did our best, then we can have no regrets.

The freedom that Ruiz writes about is one that has to do with the human spirit.  He says that none of us is free to be who we were meant to be because we spend all our time blaming others rather than living by the four agreements.

If we look at little children, one to three years of age, we see that they are free spirits—totally free. They do whatever they want and they are completely wild.  They smile, laugh, dance, explore the world and are totally uninhibited, only showing fear when they are hurt, hungry or their needs not met.  These kids don’t think about the past or the future; they are fully engaged in the present.   They express themselves for who they are, not based on what they assume others will think of them. They are unfailingly honest—until they learn to lie.  Children live and breathe “the four agreements” and are the happiest people on earth.

This is who we were all meant to be—full of joy and uninhibited bliss.  That doesn’t mean we want a bunch of wild adults running around, but finding a balance and following “the four agreements” can help us free our spirits and regain our childlike happiness.

Although I’m sure most people know these four agreements deep in their hearts and do their best to practice them, it never hurts to be reminded.

As Deepak Chopra put it, “The Four Agreements is a road map to enlightenment and freedom.”

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2 Responses to The Four Agreements

  1. SadMama says:

    I love these. They are so true and I think I try to live by all of them. It can be very difficult for young people (teens) to understand these concepts. Until they can grow past the stage where they believe that they are constantly being judged, they may have great difficulty not taking things personally and not making assumptions. I think being able to live by these four agreements does take maturity.
    Thanks for letting us know about this book. I’d also recommend Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture – for some valuable life lessons.

    • patriciahung says:

      Thanks, I’ll check that book out. It’s hard even for adults to live by these “agreements”, and that much more for teenagers. All we can do is to live by example and teach them as they grow and hopefully they’ll do some of it naturally.

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