During winter break I found myself twirling my thumbs, not really knowing what to do with my day without homework assignments due. As someone who has trouble reading due to a short attention span, I made it a New Year’s resolution to finish a book during my break. I told my father about my new resolution, and within seconds he gave me a book, smiling from ear to ear with excitement that I finally showed interest in reading a book that he recommended.
The book that landed in my hands was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. My father followed up by telling me, “These four agreements mentioned in this book will keep you on track through life no matter what!” I thought that was quite a bold statement to make, but it did indeed encourage me to start reading.
To be more specific: according to the author, all of our actions are steered by the agreements we make, which can be person-to-self, person-to-person, person-to-God, or person-to-life. These agreements are extremely important because they unlock who we are– our personality, our behaviors, and our possibilities. Ruiz states that once we use these agreements, our joy and potential in life will skyrocket. So finally, what are these Four Agreements?
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
This agreement is based on solely stating what you mean with integrity. Cut the BS. Our words hold so much power, and it is important to only use them in a positive light; don’t gossip about others or speak poorly of yourself. What good will that bring? Therefore, when you are impeccable with your words, you are gifted with much more integrity and a stronger reputation.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
In other words, stay in your own lane. Don’t think about other people’s business or believe that other people’s actions are because of you. Everyone is responsible for their actions and decisions. Therefore, everyone’s actions are their own reality. There is no need to worry about others’ opinions and assumptions, their world, and their business. When we don’t take anything personally, we are able to focus on ourselves, giving more power to our own thoughts, feelings, and actions.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Quite frankly, not making assumptions is much easier said than done. Assumptions can get people into a very dark place, as thoughts can spiral out of control. Therefore, it is crucial that people ask questions and communicate to others what they want. Clear-cut communication can solve nearly any drama or misunderstanding. In addition, making assumptions is just another way to hide behind your own version and perception of a story. It is easy to blame others and assume the reasoning behind others’ actions. Indeed, it’s a hard habit to kick. But once you begin to practice clear communication, life will simply make more sense, and you won’t have to worry about things that aren’t true in reality.
4. Always Do Your Best
When I first read this agreement, it was hard to wrap my head around it. But after some time, I finally understood what it meant. Firstly, your best is not a clear definition; it is constantly changing and fluctuating. For example, your best will be different depending on whether you are well or unwell. But the bottom line of this agreement is that you don’t give up on yourself; deep down, you always try the best that you can. It becomes too easy to beat ourselves up about small things, regret the past, and judge ourselves. However, when you try your best in all circumstances, you are able to avoid these feelings, thus respecting and loving yourself on a deeper level.
“The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.” -Migel Ruiz
Cover Photo: xeniumhr.com
Eladia Michaels is a part of the Sex and the Crescent city column. She's a freshman majoring in Communications. In addition to being a part of the Crescent, Eladia enjoys trying new things with her friends, exploring new places around the world, and open window car rides along the beach. Writing to her is simply thinking with my fingers.