Updated: May 9
We have creative behavior modifications (punishments) in my home. So my fabulous strong-willed daughter Siwe had to read a few books and write essays about them. Below is her first essay, I was deeply impressed by what she wrote. I hope you are too.
I read the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is a Toltec wisdom book and a practical guide to personal freedom.
Overall, it talks about how, just like our pets, we were all domesticated as children and it had led us to these “agreements” that we’ve made with ourselves—unnecessary agreements that can be very hurtful. In this book, Don Miguel Ruiz identifies some of these agreements that we’ve made with ourselves, teaches us how to rid ourselves of them, and encourages us to replace them with these new agreements, The Four Agreements. The first one is Be Impeccable with Your Word. First, let’s break this down. The word impeccable is derived from the Latin word pecatus meaning “sin” combined with the prefix im- meaning “without”, so impeccable technically means “without sin”. To go even deeper, a sin is anything that goes against yourself. So to go even deeper, being impeccable with your word is only saying things that do not go against yourself. Some things that go against yourself, are judging yourself or blaming yourself. One time in which we judge or blame ourselves is when he are harmful towards someone else. Most people do not understand the full extent and power that their words have. Your words have the power to plant a seed in someone, helpful or harmful, which, if they allow it to (and most people don’t even realize that they are allowing it to happen), can affect someone for LIFE. Being impeccable with your word isn’t just about being honest and not lying, it also entails that you THINK before you speak—say what you mean and mean what you say—that you take responsibility for your actions, and follow through when you say you will. The second agreement is Don’t Take Anything Personally. This one is pretty self explanatory: just don’t do it. Anything that someone directs at you is actually just their opinion on themselves. “Huh?” you may be thinking, but really sit back and mull it over. Anything that someone says to you is just their opinion. If someone said to you, “The best color in the world is orange,” but you believe that the best color is green, are you just going to believe that right away? No! You know that it is their opinion. Your opinion is yours and no one else’s just like their opinion is theirs and no one else’s. So if someone says to you, “you’re ugly.” Why should you believe them? It’s their opinion! Third is Don’t Make Assumptions. Have you ever assumed that someone knows what you’re thinking and later on you realize that they didn’t? It can be disappointing—very disappointing—but how should they know what you were thinking? To save yourself from assuming things, just ask! To keep others from assuming things, just be specific! Don’t assume that you know what someone is saying, just ask for clarification. Don’t assume that someone can read your facial expression; tell them what you’re feeling! It really isn’t all that hard. Finally, Always Do Your Best. Duh. Why should you ever do anything without putting your all into it? Just don’t forget that your best isn’t going to be the same as anyone else’s best and it won’t always be the same as it was a few minutes ago—your best is going to depend on your emotional state, physical state, and more. So just do your best, whatever it is in the moment. Doing less than your best isn’t fair to yourself, and pushing yourself too far isn’t safe either. And don’t just do your best in the hope of receiving something, do it for yourself. When you push yourself for a reward, you tend to push yourself too far. It sounds simple, but how do you know just what your best is at any given moment? You just have to feel it. These are The Four Agreements. Practicing them is not easy and if you choose to accept them into your life, you won’t be a master in the first day. Work at it one day at a time. It will be hard, no doubt, but in the end, it will be worth it. Can you do it? I dare you to try.
Love that kid. She is a damn good writer too. I literally copied and pasted what she emailed me. She still has to go deeper and write about how they impact her and which agreements she is not in alignment with.
I am with her though. Accept the Four Agreements and incorporate them into your life.
1. Be Impeccable with Your Word 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally 3. Don’t Make Assumptions 4. Always Do Your Best
I dare you to try. Let us know how it goes for you.
dionne & Siwe