I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the little book called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz is a great read with great truths. The four agreements are:
- “Be impeccable with your word.”
- “Don’t take anything personally.”
- “Don’t make assumptions.”
- “Always do your best.”
Think about it—if we are impeccable in our word, that is;
If we don’t take things personally (because things said or done to us are rarely personal), we have a better life. We aren’t constantly hurting from what someone said in carelessness, or feeling guilty for not being the person someone else wants you to be.
If we don’t make assumptions we don’t have to suffer wondering if someone is mad at you, or doesn’t like you, etc. Unless you know for a fact that something is true, making assumptions is like rocking in a rocking chair. You’re doing something, but you’re not getting anywhere.
If we always do our best, we don’t need to worry that we didn’t do enough. If we honestly are doing our best, that is all we can do. There is no virtue in beating ourselves up for things we cannot do.
For years I took so many things personally. It’s still a struggle sometimes, but not taking things personally eventually becomes what you do. I once had a friend who used to tell me that, if only I were a better friend (meaning if only I did things her way and not mine), she would be happier with me. At first I tried my best to be everything she wanted me to be, and all it did was to make me feel constantly resentful–why was I the problem? It took me a long time to realize that she was the one with the problem, not me.
After that, it didn’t take long for me to see the whole truth about this person; 1) that I could never measure up to what she wanted me to be, 2) that she was not capable of seeing her own flaws, and 3) that I had willingly allowed myself to be her scapegoat. Once I knew all that, it was simple to break away. I am sure that to this day, she thinks of me as a deserter and failed friend; that she was absolutely right about everything and I was absolutely wrong about everything, and that I was at fault for leaving the “friendship.”
Here is an excerpt from “The Four Agreements” that I really love:
“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
I keep a copy of the Four Agreements posted right above my computer. I see it daily, and it reinforces the truth about these statements. Life doesn’t have to be so hard if we can just settle into who we are and live as honestly as we can. I am the first to admit that I am not perfect in this, but each day I am trying.
Remember Yoda from Star Wars who always said, “there is no try, only DO”? Well, I respectfully disagree. Trying is a step in the right direction, and if we try each day, we will eventually get to where we need to be.
Just my two cents.