Ruiz, Miguel Ángel. The Four Agreements: A practical guide to personal freedom. Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc., 1997.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
Be impeccable with your word. Impeccability means without sin, without anything that goes against yourself. When you are impeccable with your word, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.
You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love.
As you become aware of your fear-generated beliefs, you begin to see how they affect your worldview and how this reality is projected onto others. The mind is a fertile environment, and it’s important to seed the mind with love rather than fear. This is healing for all.
Your word can create the most beautiful human existence, or it can destroy everything around you.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t take anything personally. Taking things personally is the maximum expression of selfishness. When we take things personally, the assumption is that everything is about “me.” This is the ego shining through. The practice of not taking things personally allows us to mature the ego.
Taking things personally sets us up for suffering, something we all seem to be addicted to at some level. But it doesn’t have to be this way, especially as we come to realize that everyone’s reality is slightly different from our own.
We cannot truly be anyone else, we can only be ourselves, and it doesn’t serve us to take other people’s words or actions personally when they are not authentic to our individual selves.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
Don’t make assumptions. Ask for clarification. There is a cycle of being afraid to ask for clarification, making assumptions, and gossiping these assumptions to others.
The problem with assumptions is that we believe they are true. We become attached to these beliefs, and then take things personally when others disagree as we defend our false assumptions. What a mess. 😆
When I first read this book, I worked on this agreement more than any other. And in doing so, I noticed just how many assumptions I make all the time – in every moment of the day – and how much more clear I need to be with my word. Yes, it’s a bit exhausting at times, but the work is worth it. In the process practicing not making assumptions and asking for clarification, I continue to find more joy, peace, and happiness.
4. Do your best.
Always do your best. This brings the other three agreements together to become deeply ingrained habits.
Remember that your best is constantly changing. What your best was yesterday may be completely different today. That’s okay. Give yourself grace.
Also remember that there is no need to go above and beyond your best. This is depleting and goes against yourself. Do your best, nothing more, and nothing less.
As you practice doing your best every day, incorporating the other agreements, your best gets better and better. This is growth. This is a maturation of the ego. Your world becomes brighter.
5. Being truly alive is our biggest fear as humans.
Ask most people what their biggest fear is and they will most likely respond with death. But, what resonates with me from my own life experiences and observation of others is that being truly alive is our biggest fear indeed.
To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live by other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else.
How do we live our lives to the fullest? Practicing the four agreements is a good start. And, you can begin right now.