Saturday, December 18, 2010

Good Advice: The Four Agreements

If you are looking for a meaningful book to give as a holiday gift, I recommend Don Miquel Ruiz's 1997 classic,"The Four Agreements".Ruiz had a near-death experience which led to a life of reflection and self-inquiry.He made the study of ancient wisdom and spirituality his passion.A little self-reflection is good for all of us as another year winds to a close.

Here are the four agreements:

1.Be impeccable with your word.This means using your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself and for others.It means avoiding gossip. If you are impeccable with your word will make you happy and bring you peace.You are honest and speak the truth.Your life will be less complicated, and you will live in love, rather than fear.When you live in integrity and are impeccable with your word, you will like yourself better.

2.Don't take anything personally."Personal importance", or taking things personally is the height of selfishness. It assumes everything is about you.It also makes you too vulnerable to predators.Think of it as people who try to feed you negative emotional garbage,and if you eat it,the negativity becomes a part of you.If you take things personally, you can get easily offended and hurt. Try not to take either praise or criticism personally. If you are at peace with yourself, what other people say about you isn't your concern. Avoid the needless suffering of taking things personally. Even if others lie to you,they lie to you because they are afraid you will discover they are not perfect.If someone doesn't treat you with love and respect, it is a gift if they leave you.Your heart will eventually heal. By practicing not taking things personally, you will avoid much hurt and upset in your life.

3.Don't make assumptions. We believe our assumptions are true,and they often aren't.
We create emotional poison through acting on our assumptions. This creates lots of drama and pain. Making assumtions in our relationships is asking for trouble, because you DO have to say what you want in relationships. Don't assume your partner should or does know what you want, or reads your mind. That's an irrational expectation. Don't assume people will change. Find someone you respect and don't have to change at all. Imagine your life without any assumptions about the people who are close to you. Instead of assuming things, ask questions and develop an attitude of curiosity about others.

4. Always do your best.You will have a different capacity at different times in your life. Your moods or health can change, so your personal best may vary depending on circumstances. If you always do your best, you won't judge yourself harshly, and can avoid guilt and blame.Enjoy your work. Our actions to do our best honors God. If you do your best always, you will build a beautiful life.

Ruiz is an insightful writer, and helps the reader to get some valuable perspective on our lives and relationships.Here's wishing you a 2011 with more personal freedom, and emotional well-being.You and your relationships will benefit from putting the four agreements into practice on a daily basis. Living the four agreements will help you mature emotionally into the person you were designed to become.

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