What if there was a simple prescription for living that we all had access to? One that could move us to a place of love and happiness. In his book, ‘The Four Agreements’, Don Miguel Ruiz makes the case for a life free from pain and chaos.
The book in a nutshell
The book describes our domestication as children and how we agreed with information that was passed on to us by others. These ‘agreements’ became beliefs within us many of which were limiting beliefs which keep us trapped and in suffering.
With self-awareness we can begin to recognise these beliefs and start the process of dismantling them, in effect breaking some long held painful agreements. In place of what we’ve been indoctrinated to believe, we adopt four alternative beliefs.
The author proposes that these four agreements would be key in the battle to free our minds breaking the chains that hold us back in the process.
The Four Agreements:
1.Be Impeccable with your word.
Our words create our reality, we become what we think because we act on what we tell ourselves is true. With that knowledge we learn to guard our words carefully. Being truthful is important but with an intention of impacting others and ourselves in a positive way.
2.Don’t take anything personally.
We each see the world through our own filter of beliefs and stories. With that understanding we realise that how others see and treat us is really more about them than us. Someone else’s view of us is just that, a view, and not necessarily the truth of who we are.
3.Don’t make assumptions.
None of us are mind-readers so we should avoid assuming what others are thinking. It breeds misunderstanding, inaccurate conclusions and often reactions that are negative.
4.Always do your best.
Doing our best improves the likelihood of us achieving our goals but even more importantly it allows us to be compassionate with ourselves. Our best will not always be the same and will not always produce the same outcomes but when we do our best it helps to silence the voice of the inner critic.
Who this book is for
If you want to understand how you may be living your life programmed by beliefs that you never consciously chose to adopt and you want to start dismantling those beliefs, this book is a gem of a read.
I first read this book over twenty years ago and come back to it time and again. It’s a small book (about 150 pages or so) but packed with so much wisdom. It challenges us to simply try to live each day to the best of our ability. The principles in this book have woven themselves into many areas of my life. If I feel badly about not accomplishing something I ask myself: ‘Did you do your best?’ If I feel upset after interacting with someone I remind myself that I shouldn’t take it personally. If someone’s done or said something and I begin to create a story around those events I try to remember that I can’t know what’s in their mind so I am really making assumptions.
If you’re tired of the drama in your life, this book can help you break free.