I remember vividly, the first time I read The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. I had recently quit my corporate job (with nothing lined up) and was headed to Costa Rica for my very first yoga retreat to regroup, get centered and clear my head. I had been gifted The Four Agreements but didn’t feel the call to read it until that very trip. Divine timing, as always; reading that book, in that period of my life, changed my life. I truly want to credit this book for opening my eyes to a new way of thinking, for starting to shift my perception of what I thought was possible for my life, and for sending me on my journey into this wellness world.
I probably quote this book daily, as the lessons stick with me always. I find that whenever I have a problem at hand, one of these lessons is applicable and gets me back on track. If you haven’t already read this book, obviously I highly recommend it, and I want to share my take on these four truths so you can start incorporating them into your lives now!
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word. Whether we truly recognize it or not, the words we use, the language we speak, the intent and tone in which we communicate with others truly matters. I have noticed so much lately that in general, we don’t use kind words when speaking to each other, or when speaking to ourselves. As we know from past discussion, thoughts turn to words, then to actions, and then to manifestations. Dig deep, what are your thoughts and words truly bringing into the world? Are they part of the problem, or part of the solution?
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally. A huge lesson, which I will probably spend the rest of my life learning. I find myself repeating (to myself and to others) this line, “nothing other people do is because of you.” This changes everything for me. Other people’s behavior― how they act towards you, how they talk to you, how they view you― has nothing to do with you. We are all living, thinking, and acting based on our own pre-conceived notions of the world. My judgments of another person have nothing to do with them, but have everything to do with something inside of me that brings up these judgments. When we start to fully grasp the idea of not taking things personally, we can live free from suffering, we can let things go more easily, and we can move towards joyful existence.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions. I have gotten myself into a lot of trouble by writing my own story based on a situation that I really knew nothing about. As human beings, we love being wildly creative, crafting up elaborate stories to make situations feel okay and generally speaking, to suit our own egos when we feel hurt or saddened. We make assumptions because we tend to be afraid to ask for more: more clarity, more communication, and more interaction. This leads to living life in multiple untruths. Release yourself from the tangled webs you’ve woven. Ask questions, become informed, trust your instincts, and communicate wisely.
4. Always Do Your Best. Every day is different. We are always handed a different deck with situations and experiences that may knock us off kilter. No matter what happens to you in the external world, if you have set the intention with yourself to always do your best, you will be ok. Always doing your best is not a tout for perfectionism, but rather a push for awareness. You can only really know when you are sinking below par when you’re in tune with yourself. When you are doing your best, you are living with intent, you are in the flow of life, and you really aren’t terribly bothered with competition or comparison. You are truly doing you, and that’s all that matters. Do your best, forget the rest.
As you can see, these four truths are truly powerful, and when applied to your life can create unimaginable shifts. If you haven’t read The Four Agreements, my homework for you this week is to grab a copy and immerse yourself in this ancient Toltec wisdom. You won’t regret it!
If you have read this book, I would love to hear how it has affected your life. Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org