For my first blog post of 2018, I wanted to share something that could not only help you to have a great year, but it could change your outlook on life. I was told to read The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz for my yoga teacher training, and once I started it, I could not put it down. As you can see above, my copy is covered with post it notes because there were so many good parts to mark and go back to! As soon as I finished it, I started telling everyone to read it! I have given this book as a gift several times and everyone who has read it has said the same thing–it is nothing short of amazing. The premise is pretty simple: if you practice 4 principles in your every day life, you will always have happiness and love.
The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your Word
The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally
The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions
The Fourth Agreement: Always Do Your Best
Sounds pretty easy, right? Understanding them is easy, but living by these principles is a daily challenge. While it will be hard to change patterns and think about things in a different way, these agreements will change your life–all in only 138 pages!
This book is based on Toltec wisdom that Miguel Ruiz learned from his family. The first question you might ask is why are these called “agreements”? The book explains that when you are a child, you always “agree” with what adults tell you. If an adult tells you that you are bad, you believe them. If they tell you that you are smart, you believe them. Everything children know to be true was formed through “agreements” that they did not know any better than to make with the adults. As we grow older, we can begin to question these agreements and make our own new ones: hence the idea of the four agreements that we need to make to live our best life.
Be Impeccable with your Word
This means that whatever you say, mean it. Speak clearly and truthfully, and most importantly, do not speak against yourself. Be positive towards yourself and others and be aware of the power of words. If you tell yourself “I’m not good enough, I won’t succeed at that”, then the chances are you won’t. One of the examples in the book that gets me every time is a story about a mother who just got home from work, exhausted and with a pounding headache. Her daughter is in a good mood, dancing and singing around the room. With very little patience left, the mom snaps at her daughter, and tells her “be quiet! No one wants to hear you sing!”. That little girl hears those words, and takes them to heart. She no longer sings in her school chorus, she stops sharing her voice, and she grows up thinking that she shouldn’t sing because no one wants to hear her. I’m sure the mom didn’t mean it–she was just tired and irritable–but because she was not impeccable with her word, in that instant she changed her daughter’s outlook on herself. Always remember how your words can effect yourself and others.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing that someone else does is because of you. This goes for both positive and negative things. If someone says “you are great!”, don’t take it personally. If someone says “you are terrible!”, don’t take it personally. Once you stop succumbing to the opinions or actions of other people, you can be really free and form your own reality, not theirs. How others act is often a reflection of themselves, not of you, so do not let others project themselves onto you.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Making assumptions can be one of the most detrimental things we do in relationships with others. When you think about it, you begin to realize how many fights or arguments were started all because of an assumption. We often times think we know what someone is thinking or what they mean. If we stopped assuming and started speaking clearly and asking questions to clarify, we would avoid a lot of unnecessary drama and frustration.
Always Do Your Best
No matter what you are doing, do your best, not less and not more. Do not try and do better than your best by pushing yourself too hard. Do not do less than your best and open yourself up to be disappointed and judge yourself harshly. Also keep in mind that your “best” will change over time as life circumstances change. As long as you are trying to be your best self, you can never regret it and you will always be proud of your decisions. When you come to a crossroads and need to make a choice–ask yourself, “am I doing the best that I can here?” Living life this way will never be a negative thing.
So there you have it, with just four agreements you can change your life! Reading this book will be one of the best things you do! There are so many eye-opening examples and each one has a different lesson to be learned. Whether you are a newlywed looking to communicate with your partner, someone going through new stages of life, or just a person who wants to feel better, this one is for you.
Here’s to an amazing 2018 filled with health and happiness!