“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz is a personal growth novel published in 1997. The book reads like it was written in the beginning of time. Through a folk story, the author sets the premise that humans live in an agreed upon dream and that most of the agreements in this collective dream are fear-based.
Ruiz’s description of the “judge and victim” inside of us was extremely poignant to me. He discusses how unfair and illogical it is that human beings punish ourselves over and over for the same mistake. This propelled me to truly forgive myself for my past mistakes. Although I agreed to forgive myself, others may still judge me, but this is a reflection of them, not me (Agreement #2).
Ruiz offers four new agreements. They are:
Agreement 1: Be impeccable with your word.
At first glance this agreement seems like it means to simply tell the truth, but it’s so much more. It means to tell YOUR truth. Ruiz explains that people can bless or curse themselves and others with words and advises us to be meticulously careful about the specific words that come out of our mouths.
Agreement 2: Don’t take anything personally.
The root of this agreement is to trust your instincts and believe in yourself. For example, if someone says that “you are ugly” that opinion is a reflection of them, not you. This also applies if someone says that “you are gorgeous”. It may be a compliment, but we must not take anything personally because even accolades are a reflection of the person giving the praise, not the person receiving it.
Agreement 3: Don’t make assumptions.
Ruiz explains that many issues are easily solved by asking questions and not making assumptions. Most people have a tendency to not ask questions because they are afraid of the answer. Combining this agreement with the second agreement, there is no need to be afraid of the answer because we don’t take anything personally.
Agreement 4: Always do your best.
This is self-explanatory. Ruiz adds that our best changes daily.
I listened to this book in June of 2013 and it has definitely changed my life for the better. I haven’t mastered all of the agreements, but I improve each day. I highly recommend Don Miguel Ruiz’s, “The Four Agreements” to anyone searching for tools to develop a more positive life.