This analysis of the four agreements will give you the key to empowering positive thinking and action. It shows that you don’t religion for moral thinking and behavior.
Overview of The Four Agreements
Here is the list of the four agreements. You will notice that these elements are not just philosophical positions. These elements require action. They prompt you to show these values in your life. As we undertake the analysis of the four agreements, keep this in mind.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your words to direct your life toward truth and love.
2. Don’t take things personally.
Nothing other people do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can. This will help you to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can transform your life.
4. Always do your best.
Your best is a continual decision. Things can change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”
― Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Analysis of the Four Agreements
1. To be impeccable with your word means striving to be honest with yourself and others. Gossip and hearsay create negativity in relationships. So, you must stop feeding your mind with gossip, which is the basis for much of TV news, religious programming, and reality shows.
Your mind is a computer. If you put in bad code, you will get the wrong answers. You must learn to monitor what you put into your mind. Additionally, you must learn to monitor your thinking. Then, you will be honest with yourself and others.
2. Not taking things personally means resisting the urge to fixate on the motives of others. When you take an overview of the four agreements, you’ll find this is a common issue. It instantly makes you a victim of circumstance. Besides, you can never know what someone else is thinking. Don’t automatically assume that what happens has ill intent.
Trying to anticipate or guess will take you away from the present. You are not listening anymore. You lose your grounding. It takes your mind out of the present. Keep your focus on being “present” and “mindful.” Follow the first agreement. Strive to be honest. Worst of all this makes you a victim.
You may need to remind yourself from time to time that when you take on the victim mentality, you limit yourself. If someone has a different opinion, don’t take it as a personal affront. Instead, ask them if you want to know. But, ask with the genuine intent to find out why they believe what they do. Resist the urge to present a different argument unless they ask for yours. In our overview of the four agreements with a panel of experienced psychologists, this was the hardest to do.
The reason that this one is so hard is that our culture promotes the role of the victim. Don’t be the victim. Learn that we all suffer unjust wrongs. Instead, learn to take on the role of the survivor.
3. Don’t assume. Instead, be mindful and present. Accept people where they are. Ask questions but resist the urge to judge. Avoid projecting your own values and beliefs. Give others your full attention and listen. Don’t formulate a rebuttal while you listen. Listen first, before you think about what you are going to say. When you pause and listen, it will often change your response. We encourage you to do your own analysis of the four agreements. If you do, you’ll see how they fit together as a whole.
4. Doing your best means following through. Be wise and don’t over-promise. Remember to be impeccable with your word. Remind yourself that perfection is an elusive goal. It is possible it is only temporary. So, doing your best has more to do with intent and effort, not results. Give your best effort. Be diligent with your time. Avoid “what ifs” and self-judgment.
We hope this overview of the four agreements helps you on your path. These four personal agreements will change your attitude about life. They give you perspective in this ever-changing world. And, provide guidance for you to be a better person, without the baggage of adopting any dogma or doctrine. Four simple things to keep in mind. Namaste.
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Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia