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The Four Agreements

Interpreted by: Ranee’ M. Wright, MSN, RN, CCHP-MH, CCHP-RN

If you are in search of a book to jump start your self-help adventure for a happier being, I suggest the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. There is also a companion book, which is called, The Four Agreements: The Companion Book, by Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills.

Since we are all busy doing the parenting thing, I will give a cliff notes version of the companion version. If you can follow these Four Agreements, it should help you live a more positive life.

  • · First agreement: BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS
  • · Second agreement: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
  • · Third agreement: DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
  • · Fourth agreement: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

For the first agreement, from the Oxford Languages, impeccable means: in accordance with the highest standards of property; faultless. The Free Dictionary goes on to say, supremely excellent in quality or nature: absolute, consummate, faultless, flawless, perfect, or unflawed. To say to BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS, and hold the definition to its true nature, that is putting an awful lot of responsibility on the words that we speak. But shouldn’t we? The words that we speak do have a lot of power! Don Miguel Ruiz defines that first agreement as “speaking with integrity, saying only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak badly about yourself or others. Use the power of your voice and word to speak truth and love.” Think about your day. If you were to stop gossiping and talking negatively about yourself or others and only spoke positively, how would that feel at the end of the day? Would there be stress lifted by not carrying negative energy. Try it.

The second agreement is a little more straight forward with a little thinking. If you think about everything that you have going on in your life, and how that makes you react the way that you do to certain situations. This is what is going on with everyone. To think that you should take something personally without knowing the cause of the reactions the mood sabatogers are having is way too much burden to carry. Don Miguel Ruiz writes that the second agreement: DON’T TAKE ANYTING PERSONALLY means, “nothing others do is because of you, what people say or do is a projection of their reality and their dream. If you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you will let go the needless suffering.” Think about your day or your conversations with family and friends. Perhaps it is a social media post. Anything that someone can say that evokes a feeling from within. This is needless suffering that Don Miguel Ruiz was talking about it. The person that you are eliciting an emotional response to does not have the same goals and dreams as you, and this is where their projections are coming from. It is not about YOU.

The third agreement is important and can always use more practice. Don Miguel Ruiz writes that DON’T MAKES ASSUMPTIONS means, “find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate clearly and avoid misunderstanding, sadness, and drama. This one agreement can transform your life.” Think about text messages you received today. Was everything clearly articulated? The problem with text messages is we cannot hear the tone, speed, or afflictions in the sender’s voice. This can make communication even more difficult. Text messages is not even what the third agreement was written about! Before you give energy to a message or comment, make sure you fully understand what is being delivered to you. If not, ask questions. Practicing this agreement should leave you without wondering if you are misinterpreting what the person was saying and could allow for a more open discussion. Perhaps, you will get a better night’s sleep without tossing and turning worrying about something someone had said.

The fourth and last agreement is something to remember for EVERY parenting day. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. If you always do the best that you can, you will not feel like there was something you should have done differently. Don Miguel Ruiz writes that,” your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different from when you feel good, to when you are sick. No matter what, simply do your best. You can avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.” Are you listening parents? During stressful times, just do you best, and know, YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST and that IS good enough!

If you can find the time, I suggest reading the book, or the companion book. If not, try paying attention in your daily routines and conversations how the vibes can change with just implementing these agreements. Try one at a time if you need to! You should begin to see a difference, and before you know it, you will have pushed the negative vibes out and feel more peaceful and positive. Or if you do not agree with all of these, or you do not want to make changes, just remember, if you are doing your best, and it is good enough!

Testimonials

"I am forever grateful to The Center for Suicide Awareness for allowing a platform to tell our daughter's story. Amanda was 26 when she died by suicide 13 years ago. Through the Center, I have been able to try to bring to light her struggles and keep her memory alive. Whether it be in person, one-on-one, large groups, oral or written, her story is very important to our family. She will always be our daughter and must not be forgotten."

~ J.R.

"The Center for Suicide Awareness is an amazing organization working to reduce suicide rates, eliminate stigma, train communities in resilience and inform communities about mental health. These individuals at the center are kind, passionate, and do good in the community. The center created the hopeline for individuals in need of immediate suicide intervention. I highly recommend participating in their events, utilizing their resources if necessary, and/or getting involved in some way so that we can combat suicide together!"

~ J.K.

"I believe I have been with the Center for Suicide Awareness for the past ten years helping in whatever I could do to make known to the public that the Center is here to give support to those lost a loved one to suicide. Having the experience of wanting to end my life because I no longer could bear the pain of depression. By the grace of God I did not complete my route to suicide. I was fortunate that my brain chemistry slowly began to stablize and was helped by a police sargeant who had experience with mental illnesses and helped me back to my family. Because of this experience, I have been able to help families what may have been happening in their loved ones' lives that caused them to consider suicide."

~ G.P.S.