There are books and then there are stuff written that live for ages!
Don Miguel Ruiz's book The Four Agreements is one such. Sold more than 9 million copies just in the US. Bestselling for almost a decade.
Please read this book. For your own sake. I promise you'll see the value from it. It will make you a better you.
In the book Don reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. The book is based on the ancient Toltec wisdom offering an impactful code of conduct that can transform our lives to new experiences!
The premise is about how we are domesticated from a young age and it leaves us living with a set of rules we haven't chosen for ourselves. One that has been bestowed by the society. By the dream of others.
Everything we do is based on agreements we have made with ourselves, with others, with our God, and with life itself. We may tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible, and what is impossible.
Some agreements that we create may not cause issues, but there are certain agreements that come from a place of fear and have the power to deplete our energy as well as diminish our self-worth. These precisely are the self-limiting agreements and are the sole reasons for our needless suffering.
But he shares three skills that can help counter this Domestication.
Awareness. Forgiveness. Action.
Don also believes that much of our suffering is self-created and that most of the time, we have the ability to transform ourselves and the negative thoughts we may have about situations occurring within our life. This is why he proposes The Four Agreements to bring joy and remove needless suffering we have brought on ourselves.
The Four Agreements is prescriptive yet full of wisdom to be explored. Very practical. These agreements are principles that you operate under which has the power to change your life.
Be Impeccable with your word - Speak with Integrity. Say only things that you mean. Don't use words lightly or carelessly. Avoid words against yourself or against others. Use the power of word in the direction of truth and love. 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 your don't define your worth based on others opinion and action, you will save yourself from needless suffering. Don't make assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as possible to avoid any misunderstandings, sadness and drama. 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 you are sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
These are not as simple while practising as it is while reading. Personally, I have tried each of these agreements in different relationships - at work, at home, with friends, with parents, in my personal life with myself. I have failed more than I have succeeded. But whenever I have succeeded, I have seen the benefits. They are tough to live by but worth the effort nevertheless.
The essence of these agreements, to me, lies in the fourth agreement - Always do your best. And, I'm sure with time I'll get better at it.