For those of you who are unfamiliar with don Miguel Ruiz, his book The Four Agreements is an absolute *must read*. In 138 short and easy to read pages, he provides a construct for ridding ourselves of limiting beliefs by putting in place four agreements.
You can easily go to Amazon and read tons of reviews, the outlining of the book, etc., so I won’t bore you with any of that. I’ll simply state what the four agreements are and how one in particular opened my eyes, SETTING ME FREE, maybe more than any other chapter of any other book I’ve ever read.
The Four Agreements are:
- Be Impeccable With Your Word
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best
Four straight forward agreements. Each of them somewhat simple, yet each presenting its own slippery slope of trickiness.
The Four Agreements Sandwich
For me, the four agreements present themselves like a sandwich. The bread, being Be Impeccable With Your Word and Always Do Your Best hold it all together, and personally, they are the ones that come more naturally to me, meaning, they require less effort.
The meat and cheese of my sandwich: Don’t Take Anything Personally and Don’t Make Assumptions, well, those are a bit harder (heartier). They’re more robust and add complexity and flavor into the mix.
So, which one rocked my world?
The meat: Don’t Take Anything Personally. This chapter was HUGE for me. Although there’s an entire chapter dedicated to not taking anything personally, don Miguel Ruiz spoke to me directly within the first few sentences.
…if I see you on the street and I say, “Hey, you are so stupid,” without knowing you, it’s not about you; it’s about me. If you take it personally, then perhaps you believe you are stupid. Maybe you think to yourself, “How does he know? Is he clairvoyant, or can everybody see how stupid I am?”
You take it personally because you agree with whatever was said. As soon as you agree, the poison goes through you, and you are trapped in the dream of hell.” (pp. 47-48)
From Preposterous To Poison
That’s it. That’s all it took. I think the example was so preposterous that I laughed out loud. But also, while still in mid-laugh, I got it. I completely understood. It’s not about me. It’s about them. And as soon as I take it personally, as soon as I take on whatever they said about me, I agree — and then begins the poison.
This has been a glimpse of my experience with The Four Agreements, my sandwich. Your sandwich may look entirely different; it may look like a pizza, with each slice being the same exact size, carrying equal weight in terms of ease or difficulty to fulfill. Maybe your pizza has one large piece, two small ones, and one that’s such a slam dunk it’s been eaten and therefore, not present. Whatever your experience is, whatever it looks like, I’d love to hear about it.
In closing, I’ll share something I hadn’t planned on writing about. Heck, I didn’t know I was going to discover this when I sat down to write:
It’s a common practice of mine to pull this book out and share the first 2-3 pages of the chapter on not taking anything personally with people seeking advice or who I’m mentoring on Trust. At the close of the chapter, I read these words:
“As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices.” (p. 60)
Wowww. I wonder. Did I get my current belief that Trust comes from within us, not from others…. all those years ago as I nursed my older son and read this exact chapter? Was that belief buried somewhere in my subconscious and once I started writing this blog, did I remember the words of don Miguel Ruiz?
I do wonder.
(By the way, this is NOT the first time I’ve discovered a hidden treasure while writing to you, it’s just the first time I’ve mentioned it because it’s SO connected and core to the central message of Trust Life Today.) Thank you for allowing me to share and indulge.