A friend recommended the book The Four Agreements to me a few weeks ago and I finished it up last night. It is a very short read, so it shouldn’t take you that long to read through it. Although it is short, it is full of meaningful ideas that I believe can be very beneficial in my (and other people’s) life if executed well. I won’t go into a huge summary since I have been told that I give the longest, most detailed summaries imaginable and people are usually left staring blankly at me since they tuned out 15 minutes earlier. To keep it short, here are the four agreements:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
What this means in a nutshell is that you use your words with integrity. Say things that come from a place of love and encouragement and do not use your words to the detriment of others (gossip) or yourself (self-deprecation). Say what you mean and do so in such a way that you put positive energy into the universe.
For me, this means communicating clearly the things that I want/need/feel in a way that reflects my morals and values. Try not to engage with others who may be gossiping or talking negatively. I admit this can be difficult because sometimes that is how people feel a closer affinity to each other–sharing some negative idea/speech about another person or thing. Imagine what it could be like if the affinity was formed through something positive!
2. Don’t take anything personally.
Most of the time, the comments that people make have nothing to do with you. Things that other people to say are based on a multitude of different factors: how they were raised, their life experiences, etc. I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago actually. I had people commenting negatively about how I ate and I had to realize that they were making these comments because of things going on with them, not me. The book states that if someone insults you and you take it personally, it is because on some level you agree with what that person is saying about you. Once you realize that you are perfect the way that you are and comfortable in your skin, these comments will have no effect on you.
This is easier said than done. I was having a hard time a month or two ago with constantly judging people. It took me awhile to work through things and get to exactly what was going on with me. I did not accept myself the way I was. I never felt like enough. If I am unable to accept myself, I certainly can not accept you. That is what this second agreement means to me. Having a solid sense of self and being able to love yourself means that nothing anyone says or does to you will change that. This includes compliments. Letting compliments inflate your sense of self means that you rely on something outside yourself to make you feel better.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
This agreement emphasizes communication. I have learned that communication is SO important in all relationships in my life. Assuming what other people think/feel/mean/etc is based on your upbringing and mentality. Even if you know someone very well, you can not assume that you know where they are coming from at all times. Just the reverse, you can not assume that another person knows what you are thinking if you haven’t communicated it with them.
I have had to learn to explicitly communicate my thoughts, needs, and wants with another person. I would LOVE if my husband could read my mind, but expecting that is unrealistic and leads to disappointment. I don’t know if I thought it would be romantic (probably) for that to be the case, but the more that I expect him to know that I want to come home and be showered with gifts and attention, the more I am going to be disappointed when I’m not. It is not fair to him or to me. I find that we get along the best when I ask questions if I am not clear on something and I communicate what I am thinking. Actually, telling him I want to come to presents has actually paid off sometimes! 🙂
4. Always do your best
This last agreement is pretty self-explanatory. Always do your best. At every moment in life, try and do your best. Your best will differ at different times. You have to learn to be patient with yourself and know that some days you will do better than others, but as long as you have tried and have done your best for that day, you can avoid the negative consequences that come with failing to do so. These consequences are usually self imposed since only you know if you are truly doing your best or not.
This last agreement is tough for me. I place high expectations on myself and have a hard time being patient when I fail to meet them. I am quick to judge and berate myself because I haven’t reached some monumental standard. There are some days when I do exceptionally well during my day and others when I am mediocre. I can tell the difference, though, between when my best for that day is actually mediocre and when I know I have actively avoided doing work or dealing with a relationship issue. I want to try and do my best on a daily basis and try even harder to be patient and forgiving with myself if I have an off day. This applies to everything I do in life and I think it is very important.
I am grateful that this book was recommended to me because it goes along with a lot of things that I have learned in recovery and in trying to live a more fulfilling life. The main theme in this book was love and that if you treat others with love, it will be returned to you ten fold (I made that number up, it could me much more ha). If you have time to check it out, it is short and beneficial.
I hope everyone has a great day!!
Question of the day: Are there certain agreements by which you live your life?