I was recently talking with a client about living life on purpose and the importance of having balance, faith, hope and trust in yourself to be all you were meant to be. Sometimes we have to take time out to remember some simple wisdom. This reminded me about a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. In this book he offers a simple, straightforward approach to living life on purpose. He calls them the four agreements.
1. Be impeccable with your word. Our words will always have an effect on others, the universe and ourselves. We use words to self-talk us into believing we can’t or shouldn’t do something. We hold ourselves back with our words. Equally, we can hold back others from realizing their potential by using words that are harmful. Or we use words to start rumors or gossip – we’ve all either done it or we have been the key subject in the gossip. It’s not harmonious. When we take the time to truly think about the words we say and how they affect others, we can help reach balance and harmony in our lives and relationships.
2. Don’t take anything personally. This is always easier said than done. We get trapped in something Ruiz calls personal importance where we make the assumption everything is about us (me). We get imprisoned into thinking what others say to us to be true, but in reality, what people say is not about us, it’s about them. It’s about their world, their experiences, their morals and beliefs. They put their world onto us and we put your world on them in defense. When we start to believe their trash, we become trash. Don’t get sucked into what others say about you. Look to your inner guide to remind you it’s about them, not you.
3. Don’t make assumptions. Nobody reads just the last chapter of a book because they know what the previous 356 pages were about. Assumptions are that way – we make up the ending based on what we believe to be true – they become our story. The problem with assumptions in our relationships is we believe them to be true. Assumptions are one-sided – our side. We make assumptions about others and how they live or should live according to our norms and values. When you don’t take the time to learn the norms and values of those you have relationships with, you inadvertently expect them to change. We tell ourselves that if people love us enough, trust in our skills or believe in our work that they will change. You can’t change others – just as you would not want to be changed by/for someone else. Without assumptions we get to acceptance. Without assumptions we create a story, not define the story.
4. Always do your best. Do your best to be your best. Doing your best is not over committing, putting in more hours at work, or going to church more often. It’s about doing your best and taking action because you love it, not because you think you’ll be rewarded. Take action because you enjoy it. Look at your life. Do you like what you do? Are you doing your best? If you are, I bet you are having fun, feeling free, and experiencing happiness. If you don’t like what you do, it’s likely you are not doing your best and have animosity, resentment or frustration in your life. Take a step back and look at your life from a hot air balloon – would you see a happy, go-lucky you or a sad, lonely, frustrated you?
Doing your best is the foundation of a happy life and, for me, the most important agreement because without it, you can’t accomplish the first three. Always do your best at being impeccable with your words, not taking things personally, or making assumptions.
How do you get these agreements embedded in your everyday life? One, you must understand your behavior. Two, you must honor your values in everything you do. And three, allow yourself to be resourceful, creative and whole. Engaging with a life coach can help. If you’d like to learn more about how coaching can support you in your journey go to book a session.