In 1997, author don Miguel Ruiz wrote “A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” that he titled, “The Four Agreements.” His agreements are as follows:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
I like that he came up with a succinct way to really target powerful behaviors that have the potential to influence your choices in a way that keep your life on track.
If I had only four things that I could use in this life to guide all of my choices and decisions, these are the agreements I believe will hold me to the highest standard
My four agreements would be:
- Know your truth
- Accept your truth
- Live your truth
- Be grateful
My agreements are obviously influenced by the work I do, and the damage I see when people do not know, accept and live their truth. I also come from a place of believing that all people are fundamentally good. It is only when we deviate from who we really are that we find trouble and engage in troubling behaviors. My definition of a deviant is someone who steps away from who they really are. Are you a deviant? It’s not too late to change your course.
KNOW your TRUTHTo me, there is nothing more powerful than accessing the truth of who we are. To do this we must lose the stories others have of us. “She’s so forgetful,” or “She’s afraid of commitments,” or “She’s not smart, but she sure is pretty,” etc. We must also lose the stories we’ve made up about ourselves. “I’m not good enough.” Or, “Once people get to know me, they will discover I am not as _______ as they think I am.”
One of the hardest parts of stepping into our truth is that we must be willing to take risks to disappoint those we love. These stories prevent us from accessing our truest self. Who are you without any stories, stereotypes, assumptions or other limiting thoughts? What would you be doing differently in your life (big and small things) if you were not worried about disappointing someone, anyone?
ACCEPT the TRUTH
When we access our truth, our next challenge is to accept it. Sometimes we discover things we are not comfortable with. I know that when I realized I was attracted to females, I didn’t want this to be true. I was in middle school. And I was gay when gay wasn’t cool. I spent years trying to make it not true. By rejecting my truth, I denied my gifts, I distanced from those I love, I convinced myself I was defective. This, my friends, is not the path to freedom. What are you denying or refusing to accept about yourself? What are you afraid to be, that you already are? What are you afraid to feel, that you already do?
LIVE your TRUTH
When we live our lives closely aligned to the truth of who we are, we find joy. Joy is the result of alignment with our truth. Joy doesn’t lie. When we are joyful, we are accessing our most fundamental, truest self.
Joy is not fleeting, like the pleasure of a good movie, a favorite food, or the purchase of a new Vespa
. It is an enduring sense of satisfaction and positive energy about our life and about our self in this life.
By accepting our truth, the path is clear to live authentically and happily. By accepting the truth that I am a lesbian, I was able to stop apologizing for who and what I am. Eventually, I even learned to celebrate and enjoy my identity. This is where the power is – the power is in the truth. When we make peace with the truth of who we are, we are free. We can go about our lives without apology, and in this, there is much for which to be grateful.
As you journey toward a life that is aligned with who you really are, make time to experience gratitude along the way. Anytime you experience life in a way that pleases you, pause long enough to give thanks. My favorite definition of gratitude is that it is like saying to the universe, “More of this please.”