You are not listening! Pay attention! How many times have you heard these from your parents or spouse?
Great advice but …
In today’s busy word you are bombarded with messages and information from all areas. Our ability to pay attention gives us the filter to keep out what you don’t need and to help make choices.
Attention is the key
In his book “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” Don Miguel says attention is the key. But … we often focus our attention what is happening around us; what is acceptable, what is bad, what to believe in etc. This forms our values which influences how you do life – whether that is healthy or not! But what if you have been focusing on the wrong things or people.
Ruiz says by following The Four Agreements you create a foundation for self-satisfaction: taking pride in what you do and say.
The First Agreement – Be Impeccable with Your Word
“Your word is your promise”. “I’ll take your word for it”. “You have my word”. In each of these phrases your word is a commitment to truth. It’s the way you intend to live, to deliver your obligations.
Everything you say that goes against ourselves is a failing, such as when you judge or blame ourselves for things. Being impeccable is not putting ourselves down. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for our actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself. So being impeccable with your word is not to use the word against yourself.
The Second Agreement – Don’t Take Anything Personally
When you take negative comments personally, you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs, which often leads to conflict. You can make something big out of nothing, because you need to be right and make everybody else wrong. Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; so even then, you don’t need to take them personally.
You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for your own. When you realise this and refuse to take things personally the negative comments or actions of others will have less effect on you and pass you by.
The Third Agreement – Don’t Make Assumptions
Ruiz points out, the problem with making assumptions is that you believe they are the truth. You assume they are real. You make assumptions about what others are doing or thinking — you take it personally — then you blame them and react by sending “emotional poison” with your words.
Even if you hear something and you don’t understand, you make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. You assume that everyone sees life the way you do, others think the way you think, feel the way you feel or judge the way you judge.
The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. You need to ensure the communication is clear. If you don’t understand, you ask. You need to have the courage to ask questions until you are clear as you can be, and even then, not to assume you know all there is to know.
The Fourth Agreement – Always Do Your Best
Always do your best, no more and no less. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough. When you overdo it, you run yourself down and it will take longer to accomplish the goal. But if you do less than your best, inevitably you will get frustrated which triggers self-judgment, guilt, and regrets.
If you like what you do, if you always do your best, then you are enjoying life. You are having fun, as you don’t get bored or have any frustrations.
The first three agreements will only work if you do your best. You should not expect that you will always be able to be impeccable with your word. Just do your best. You should not expect that you will never take anything personally or expect that you will never make another assumption, but you can certainly do your best.
If you’re doing your best, you will feel good about yourself even if you still make assumptions, still take things personally, and still are not impeccable with our word.
Breaking Old Agreements
Ruiz suggests the first step toward personal freedom is awareness. You need to be aware that you are not free in order to be free. You need to be aware of what the problem is in order to solve the problem.
Every time you face one of the fears you are a little freer. You also need to stop feeding the fear. To do this you have to gain control of your emotions, you have to refrain from fuelling the emotions that come from fear. If you have the awareness that the whole drama of your life is the result of what you believe, and what you believe is not real, then you can begin to change it.
What would happen in your personal and professional relationships if you drew a line in the sand and if The Four Agreements were part of your daily life?
Why not give it a go and find out?