This is only an overview of the power in the Four Agreements book -- almost 100% of my personal coaching clients, have read this book ... and 100% have said that it has has a profound and powerful impact in their lives.
So, please do make sure you purchase this book -- I promise you, your life will be enhanced immeasurably if you do so.
Although the Four Agreements is a small book it has the power to dramatically shift your world. Author Don Miguel Ruiz outlines four agreements that, if you adopt as a way of living, gives you greater personal power, freedom and purpose.
The Four Agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don't take anything personally
- Don't make assumptions
- Always be your best
On the surface the book sounds like a million other self-help books, however, the way this information is presented is unique and truly inspiring.
So let's take as look at what you can expect.
Throughout the book, and particularly in the early chapters Ruiz helps you to unfold the self-limiting beliefs and, what he calls, limiting agreements with others so that you can set yourself on a path of living the life you dream.
Certainly, most of us know that our reality is controlled by the beliefs we have bought into, both individually and collectively.
For example, it wasn't that many years ago that we communicated to distant loved ones via pen and paper. The concept of instant communication with people across town, let alone across the the world wasn't even in the realm of possibilities.
Yet today it is the norm to not only speak, but to see the other person live!
On a personal level, many of us are rigidly controlled by the limiting beliefs that were handed to us by our important others - parents, grandparents teachers etc.
The thousands of beliefs, (or in Ruiz's words agreements), that you have picked up over the years tell you:
- Who You Are
- What You Should Feel
- What You Should Believe
- How To Behave (to make others happy)
- What you can and can't do to be accepted.
The problem with most of these beliefs is that they are steeped somehow in the notion that we just aren't good enough ... that we don't measure up in someway.
When this happens, our internal conversation becomes one that creates a living hell for us, and depletes us of our energy.
By adopting the four agreements, you can begin to break down these limiting beliefs, and gain your personal power back.
And here's where the rubber hits the road with this book.
Once you've read and absorbed these agreements, if you are like me and the hundreds of my coaching clients I have shared this wonderful book with your thinking and emotions will shift and your life will transform.
Let's take a quick peek at the Four Agreements - but I highly recommend you get the book, because even though it is a small book he covers the agreements far better than this small summary.
Agreement 1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
This is the most important agreement, but can also be the most challenging to honor.
Our word is the most powerful tool we have. It is our power to express, communicate, think and create events in our lives.
You are .... Is a very potent sentence opening.
Don Miguel says, that we plant fertile seeds in our minds and these fertile seeds can contain either fear and doubt, or power and love.
For example, have you heard of someone being diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, and they buy into exactly what the doctor has said, and within 'x' months they have succumbed to the disease.
Or, another example, early in my career (when I was a secretary), a mentor suggested that I should go to university and get a degree. He believed that I was capable of more, and, because of his status in the organization I believed him, (and his word), and he planted a fertile seed that I could be a leader.
In Don Miguel's terms, these are examples of white magicians and black magicians.
These are people who can change beliefs for better or worse.
What Does Being Impeccable With Your Word Mean?
Being impeccable with your word means
- Accepting yourself.
- Coming from a space of love.
- No judging or blaming, of yourself or others.
- Taking responsibility for your actions.
- Being kind to both yourself and others.
- Using your words/thoughts in the direction of truth and love for yourself.
By practicing impeccability, we can clear up communication problems, heal relationships, and create enough personal power, to break our old limiting agreements.
We no longer gossip.
We no longer spread poison so that we can feel good about ourselves ... so many people feel unworthy and not good enough on the inside, so they bring others down, to make themselves feel better, (and unfortunately most people don't even realize that they are playing this game).
When you adopt being impeccable with your word, you are able to get rid of the emotional poison within yourself.
It is about healing yourself, so that you can step into all your potential and become a person who is both inspired and inspiring.
The amount of self-love that you have is a measure of how impeccable your word is and you can improve your self-love by improving your self-talk
Master being impeccable with your word and happiness and peace follows - both within yourself and in your relationships with others.
Agreement 2. Don't Take Things Personally
We each have our own sense of personal importance, so we assume everything is about me. Someone snaps at you, or makes a careless comment or acts in a way that has a negative impact on you, your immediate thought is something like, "It is because they don't like me".
A huge amount of freedom is gained when we take nothing personally ... For example, you can make the choice to decide that someone is snappy because THEY are having a bad day ... it has nothing to do with you at all - and you are okay.
So, the first key to not taking things personally is understanding that everyone is dealing with their own insecurities and life viewpoints ... their own inner rule book.
And, we are all overwhelmingly busy trying to shape ourselves and others up to look like the picture we have in our mind of how people ought to behave.
For example, some people consider it uncouth for people to chew with their mouth open. If they happen to be somewhere and another person is eating with their mouth open it really bothers them.
Yet for others the rules for chewing are the direct opposite and for others there are no rules about whether the mouth should be open or closed whilst eating.
Our Internal Rulebook Can Be A Ticking Bomb
Unfortunately most of the rules we have about life are sitting in our subconscious, sitting there like a time-bomb that we are unaware of, waiting to explode and make our life more stressful and tangled than it needs to be.
Imagine a scenario where a newly established team is having lunch together to establish closer relationships. The person with the 'mouth closed whilst eating rulebook' is really bugged by the person sitting next to her and she is struggling to try and 'like' this other person.
Later she says to someone else, "Can you believe he ate with his mouth open the whole meal ... it was disgusting". The person upon hearing this feels embarrassed, because he didn't know there was a rule against eating with your mouth open and begins to wonder if he has been doing the same, and others have been judging him.
Accept that you shouldn't be using their rule books to guide how you live and feel. You can't stand on your head in enough ways to make every single person, you come into contact, with happy.
If you try to run your life so that you comply with other people's rule books, you will drive yourself mad. Because the minute you make one person happy, you are likely to be annoying someone else, or even more tragically making yourself unhappy.
Similarly, you shouldn't be trying to run anyone else's life according to your rule book.
When you take things personally, you get caught up justifying, blaming, defending yourself and this always leads to conflict. You don't want this to happen.
Stop taking what others say and do personally and no longer will you be driven by anger, jealousy and envy.
Trust Yourself To Be Wise
The second key to not taking anything personally is trusting yourself to make responsible choices. When you trust yourself you can begin to break down the agreements/beliefs that you have bought into that just don't serve you well.
In fact, don't even take other peoples good opinions personally.
Because they are still judging you, and when you give someone the power to judge you, even when the outcome is still good, you are still leeching away some of your personal power.
Learning to like who you are, the way you are, feeling happy with your life and where you are going and not getting caught up in what others think of you and leaving others to get on with their own life in the way they best see fit ... is the best, and fastest way to personal freedom.
Bottom line - you are never responsible for another person's choices, actions or thoughts - only your own. Not taking anything personally means you are free to follow your heart, choose wisely, and you won't feel guilt or self-judgment ever again.
You will begin to feel heaven on earth.
Agreement 3 - Don't Make Assumptions
We make assumptions when we think we know what others mean, or what their intent was behind their actions, or when we think they know what we mean.
The problem with making all those assumptions is that we believe them as the truth. And, if things aren't working out the way we want, we:
- Blame others for the assumptions that we make,
- We take it personally and this sets us up for crisis and conflict,
- Complain about it to others.
All of which, of course, isn't living Agreements One and Two.
Become Clearer By Asking Questions
Instead, practice the skill of asking questions and getting clarity, so that you can understand the other person's story and picture ... understand their intent.
Not making assumptions, clears your emotional slate, so that you can step into conversations with others with an open mind and an open heart.
How differently do you think these two conversations might go?
One that starts with - Why did you ....
Or another that starts with - Help me to understand ...
The first opener lays blame and points fingers. The second lays the foundation for a conversation of discovery and relationship building. Operating this way means that you are on the path toward your word being impeccable.
Agreement 4 - Always Do Your Best
This agreement makes the other three possible. When we simply do our best - we avoid self-condemnation and we have no regrets. Although our best is always changing, even though we may not realize it, we are always continually striving to do our best.
Your Best Differs
Your best can differ depending upon the circumstances that surround you. When you are tired or unwell, or drunk or angry, your best will be quite different from when you are fresh, healthy, sober, and happy.
If you can let go of any self-condemnation, and remind yourself that you are working toward doing your best, no matter the circumstance, you will release yourself from the bonds of guilt, regrets, blame and self-punishment.
Just do your best - no more, no less.
You'll do your best when you take the time to align with your source energy and take inspired action - doing something because you love it, not because you have to - not because you are trying to please another, not because you expect a reward but because it pleases you and makes you happy.
Don't expect to be always impeccable with your word, to not take things personally or to not make assumptions.
Most of us have been too hardwired to live this purely.
However, if you recognize
- that you are doing your best to speak impeccably,
- that you are doing your best to not take things personally,
- that you are doing your best to not make assumptions,
- this way of being will start to flow from you more easily, and effortlessly, as time goes by, and you will awaken one day and find that you are living your life with a great deal more freedom.
You will live your life with no regrets and a huge amount of joy and exhilaration.
If you had no fear of anyone judging your or your actions and you knew you could not fail, what actions would you take (at work, at home)?
Who is it that you judge the most at work? How do you look for evidence that they are 'not right'? Do you constantly justify your position? How much do you know about what goes on in their life outside of work?
Do you gossip about people you don't like? How does that feel?
What sorts of things do you say about yourself - things that you repeat over and over? Do they sound at all familiar to the things you gossip about?
After you take offense, at something someone has said or done, do you come up with justifications about why you are right and defend your position to anyone that will listen?
How do you feel when you don't know what is going to happen next?
Describe three people you work with and that maybe the relationship isn't as strong as it could be. Be very honest about your judgments of them. Now, the next time you are involved with them at work be sure to ask questions so you know how they view things - so you are clear about their perception of the situation. Were your judgments right?
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