Four Agreements to Live By

Written by Melissa Kessler, MA, PCC

I read the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz over 20 years ago, and the lessons are more relevant than ever today. If we lived by these agreements and adhered to them daily, I think we would be happier, less stressed, and have much less conflict in our relationships. These four agreements from the book are stated below, followed by my thoughts on them.

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Words are powerful. They have energy, and they are declarations that bring ideas into reality. It’s so important to use this power for the good of ourselves and others rather than using it for harm. We do not need to speak every thought we have into existence.

  1. Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

 Because we are the main character in the story of our lives, we tend to believe that everything is about us. When in reality, we are not as important to other people as we may think. Other people are far more concerned with themselves and what’s going on in their own lives than they are with us.

  1. Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

 We are often quick to make assumptions without checking them out. However, we are frequently mistaken because we have limited information. It’s always better to ask than to assume, otherwise we risk inventing conflicts that don’t really exist. The only assumption worth making is that others have good intentions.

  1. Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.

 Because our best can change at different times, we need to give ourselves grace when it’s less than our usual. We also need to give others the same amount of grace. We must remember that they are doing their best given their circumstances, even if their best is different from ours.

I hope that we can all remember and practice these agreements to live happier lives and have better relationships with others at work, at home, and in our social lives.

You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

“The real mission you have in life is to make yourself happy, and in order to be happy, you have to look at what you believe, the way you judge yourself, and the way you victimize yourself.” – Don Miguel Ruiz

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