Transformational Tools for Your Toolbox
Point to Ponder:
How often do you make assumptions and take things personally?
Last week and upon focusing on integrity I had a several interesting conversations with friends about being impeccable with our word--specifically how we speak to ourselves and having our yes mean yes and no mean no. These conversations led to one of my favorite transformational books, The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, as being impeccable with your word is the first of four agreements.
In the past, I've written several blog posts on The Four Agreements and how it reshaped my mind, helped me get out of my way and off of an absurd mental and emotional rollercoaster. I've decided to write about it again because well,....it's one of those timeless and always relative books. In addition, the 12-year old girl who lives in us can easily creep up and may possibly need a talking to, and because we live in the era of text, email and social media...quick responses, comments and posts are too often taken personally. I believe this has contributed to hyper-sensitivity, divisiveness, and the easily-offended and on-edge tendencies that are prevalent within our society.
So, what about the Four Agreements? After reading the book over fifteen years ago, the agreements that had the greatest impact on and in my life are Don't Make Assumptions and Don't Take Things Personally. As for my pre-25 year old self, I cared way too much about what people thought of me. I wanted to be liked by everyone and tried my best to make others feel acknowledged and loved, however I let this desire rule my life. I was devastated when I didn't receive the same acknowledgment or outgoing greeting. Rather than shrug it off and move on, and rather than approach the person and ask if I had upset them, I would use all my mental and emotional energy obsessing over what I did to upset them and why they didn't like me any longer. It was exhausting!
Thankfully, when I read The Four Agreements it completely transformed my thinking and life. Overnight, the little girl who always got her feelings hurt matured into a woman who was able to see things for what they were and no longer took on everyone's emotional trauma and drama. I realized I was making one assumption after another and another and another, and then taking everything personally. I finally understood that the comments, actions, and non-actions of others, as well as being included (or not) had nothing to do with me. As long as I was being impeccable with my word and trying my best, I was doing my part.
Currently, I am not always impeccable with my word, and sadly I still make assumptions, take things personally and don't always do my best. However, I am now aware when I violate an agreement, which proceeds with pulling out my agreement tools, looking at the situation objectively and letting it go.
One of my favorite seasonal quotes is, "The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go."
I believe we are given the seasons to enjoy, be inspired by and learn from. As fall sets in and the leaves change from green to red to gold and then fall to the ground, I encourage you read or re-read The Four Agreements with me and like the leaves, let go of what's useless, unnecessary and unproductive; remove your words that aren't impeccable, eliminate foolish assumptions and stop taking things personally. I promise you by doing these things your mind, and more importantly your life, will be renewed and transformed in a way that will bring you greater peace and joy.
The Four Agreements:
Be Impeccable With Your Word- Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and word.
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 misunderstanding, sadness and drama. With this just one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
Don't Take Anything Personally- Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinion and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.
Always Do Your Best- Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you healthy as apposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.
Read or re-read the book The Four Agreements and remove your words that aren't impeccable, eliminate foolish assumptions and stop taking things personally. And of course, always try your best!
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