The Four Agreements

miguel4My friend Kelly swears by this book ” The Four Agreements ” and no matter what age you are, or what your living or lifestyle situation I can see why.

  1. Be impeccable with your word

  2. Don’t take anything personally

  3. Don’t make assumptions

  4. Always do your best

Lets focus on one at a time start with your word – it seems simple enough to make a promise and keep it. Sometimes though life throws you a curve ball and the things you promise cannot always come true. This agreement however does not only cover promises. When you say something, be real be true, don’t bother wasting your time lying, just be yourself. A wiseman once said “a man is only as good as his word, without his word he is nothing” I don’t know who but I heard it somewhere, and it is absolutely true. No matter who you are or what you are doing, if people cannot trust the things that are coming out of your mouth they are not going to then take the time to get to know you as a person. It takes time to get to know someone, especially someone who has been burned in the past – so if your going to speak up, speak wisely, strongly and honestly or not at all.

Two, taking things personally. We all have days and even nights where life is neither what we expect or what we want, and of course when we get into those “why me” moments we all know our friend misery loves company; but with that being said why should our friends and families have to suffer just because we are? This isn’t my way of saying don’t talk about your problems. The question remains though, are you actually talking about your problems? Or are you ranting and raving like a lunatic trying to set out to make everyone as miserable as you are, so that you feel better? This is actually a form of abuse, and it can be referred to as bullying. In fact no it is bullying, because lets face it, thats exactly what bullies do. They abuse, and torture those around them to make themselves feel better. As Craig Kielburger is often fond of saying, “Be the change you want to see” so? Start being the change.

Three: Just because someone is having a bad day, or is in a grumpy mood don’t assume that it has something to do with you. It’s all well and good to ask your friend/lover/partner how their doing but don’t take offence if they aren’t ready to talk about it. A good friend of mine used to tell me to “Get over it” when I was feeling self conscious depressed or well…whenever I was letting the negativity take over, luckily for me I was in a place where I was ready to hear it. I recently learned while trying to impose the same lesson that people heal differently and it isn’t my place to decide when and if a person should “get over it”. On the flip side of the coin, just because you shouldn’t’ assume that a problem is about you…don’t be too careful to assume it isn’t about you either. If your friend/lover/partner is being cranky take a serious look at your actions and try and figure out if a) there is something you can do to help the situation or b) it was something you did that created the problem to begin with. And please, don’t be offended if they tell you they don’t want to talk about it, sometimes we all need some time to work our problems out in our own heads before we release them into the world.

Four, doing your best. No matter what your doing in life, whether it is playing a game or working on a project, give it your best. Half assing it will not get you anywhere, and frankly your selling yourself short. As humans we crave recognition, love and support. I could go on at nauseum about how important doing your best is but answer this, why should I spend my time congratulating someone who does a job at half their ability? As an employer or a manager I have no interest in someone that has no interest in themselves. I as your employer owe you nothing, you on the other hand being my employee? need to show me that you deserve recognition. Sadly this same thing goes for parents, students, lovers and friends. If your only going through life at half speed……are you really living?

Here’s one more agreement that you should make that is not in the book, and this one is probably the most important of all of them:

Spend time getting to know you.

We as humans are fond of saying “people change” we’re constantly looking for the next big thing, wanting to grow; smarter stronger richer whatever “er” you are looking for. At what point during your day, week, month, year or hell even hour have you spent trying to figure out what it is YOU want, what it is YOU need to be happy? If your spending your entire life working to make other people’s “er’s” come true, how are you ever going to make your dreams come true?

Muslims pray five times a day, for two reasons:

  1. To give thanks for the blessings Allah has given them
  2. To spend time getting in touch with their spiritual inner selves

Maybe I don’t agree with all of the Muslim traditions but this is one I take very seriously. I am humbled by the amount of time that Muslim families spend with each other, getting to know each other, getting to know themselves. There is a lesson in there. What “er’s” are you looking for in your life, and what are you doing to make them come true?

What are your Agreements to yourself?

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