Book Review: “The Four Agreements” By Don Miguel Ruiz

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“A dream clouds our perception or reality which is that we are all made of the same material.”

 

The Unfortunate Truth

 

The Four Agreement’s Author believes that there is a “Dream” (which is our own perception of reality) that is more deeply engraved when we use language to label and judge our reality. We start to become something we are not, just to receive the one thing that we want most: Love. We initially start this process by trying to please Mom and Dad. We do this because we do not want to be rejected. We soon become a copy of others through the process of Domestication, or another common term – Social Conditioning.

We soon allow a “Judge” to dictate our life by allowing him to let us believe that we do not deserve love. If we make a mistake, we then punish ourselves over and over again with our recreation of that mistake in our head. Occasionally, you will have memories of 6th grade where you said something stupid. Why does your mind bring up these memories that should have absolutely no bearing on today? We punish ourselves because we want to live up to an ideal. We create this ideal of the perfect person, which in most cases can never be achieved. Since we cannot achieve this, we start to reject ourselves. We put on a mask in front of others because we are afraid that they will see us for who we really are – Imperfect. There is a way to accept your true self and get rid of the judge. It is by following these 4 agreements:

 

I. The First Agreement
“Always Be Impeccable With Your Word.”

 

Your word has many meanings. It is not just your spoken word to others, but it is also the spoken word to yourself (your thoughts). Your intent or action is manifested through your word. It is the tool that can create a beautiful dream of reality or living Hell. Our word can be very influential. The Bible is a form of the written word. That religious text and others guide people through their lives and tell them what is right and wrong. The word even has the power to form our identity of who we are.

The “Hurting” Word

People living in a life of Hell want others to join them. They will spread their emotional poison to others to bring them into their reality. An example of this would be if a Father comes home after being fired. His son is playing soccer outside and shoots the ball into a light fixture right when the Dad pulls up to the house. The Father might love his son very much and believe that he is a great player, but on that day the Father could not contain his anger and disappointment. He may lash out at his son and say, “You suck at soccer, why do you even try if you can’t even kick the ball straight!” This may not be true. The son may be really good at soccer, but if he accepts his Father’s word then the son will start to believe himself that he is no longer good. The son may stop trying to practice playing and may even quit doing what he loves the most in life. This is all because of one thing his Father said and did not mean. The son agreed to it and now lives out a self-fulfilling prophecy that he is not good enough.

Not being impeccable with your word is the equivalent to sin. According to Mr. Ruiz, sin is anything you do that goes against the true nature of yourself. This includes judging, blaming, and labeling yourself and others.

 

“If I love you, then you will love me. If I insult you, then you will insult me.”

 

II. The Second Agreement
“Don’t Take Anything Personally.”

If someone treats you badly or calls you stupid, it is never really about you. You do not have to accept what they say is true. It is poison that they want you to agree to because they believe it about themselves. If you agree to their word, then you have accepted their poison as your own. Nothing anyone ever does is because of you. It is because of themselves!!! Taking things personally is selfish. Taking things personally is assuming that they know what you see, believe and perceive in your world. If you agree with whatever negative poison they sell you, then you believed it about yourself all along.

Neutrality of Others’ Word

This agreement also applies for the opposite side of things. If someone says you are wonderful then don’t take it personally. You know you are wonderful. Why do you have to hear it from someone else. If someone’s opinion of you can make you happy then that same person’s opinion or word can conversely make you upset and mad. Have a sense of neutrality when other people express their word onto you.

You have certain agreements or beliefs about yourself that you will try to confirm. If you have a tendency to think you deserve abuse then you will seek out those that abuse you. Try and examine how the people in your life treat you. Do they treat you in a way that confirms your agreements or creates conflict with them?
If you live out this second agreement then you realize that you and others are not perfect. When you are around others, you will bring out their true self because you do not judge them. You will be able to see the pain that people have in their hearts when they are spreading poison. Your sadness will disappear if you accept this agreement. You will be able to say, “I love you.” to someone without the fear of rejection.

III. The Third Agreement
“Don’t Make Assumptions.”

Don Miguel believes that all sadness is rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally. If you can not assume anything and not take things personally then you will live a happy and free life. Why do we assume? We are afraid to ask for clarification because we want to assume we are right. It goes back to being perfect. Have you ever not raised your hand in class to ask something because you didn’t want to seem stupid? Of course you did. Nothing is wrong with asking for what you want. This is because everyone has the right to say no.

Be Clear In Communication

If we don’t understand a situation or person then we will assume. We stereotype people based off of what they look like and where they are from. We make assumptions in relationships where we think the other person will know what we want because they know us and love so much. These assumptions are the root of all conflicts in relationships. There is a lack of communication. Assuming things is using a lack of empathy where we think that others think, feel and will behave in the same way we do.

Assumptions=Stereotypes

These assumptions are also used to justify why we may like or dislike someone. Have you ever heard something bad about someone before you met them? Then when you meet them, you only see things that confirm what you believe. You didn’t take the time to think, “Why does my friend think that about them?” Maybe that person screwed your friend over. You let other peoples’ word affect how you view people by assuming that your friend is right.

Avoid assumption by asking questions. It is never offensive to have genuine curiosity toward others. When you don’t assume things then you start to accept others for who they are. Once you start to accept others, they will in turn accept you more often.

“True love is accepting others for who they are, and loving who you are around them.”

 

IV. The Fourth Agreement
“Always do your best.”

This last agreement is all about how you go about applying the first 3 agreements. Your best is never the same from day to day. If you were to get no sleep the night before you want to lift, and end up going to the gym, then you probably wouldn’t be able to lift as much weight. Your best is subject to change based off of emotional and physiological factors. Doing your best is all about accepting what you can do. It is never trying to do more or less than is capable. You know what your best is. This is all about taking action because you love it. It is letting go of any outcome or need for something.

My Struggle With Expectations

When I first started to become successful with women I would set my expectations higher and higher each time I interacted with a girl. When I was tired or just not in the zone, I would beat myself up for not meeting my expectations. Doing your best is all about managing those expectations. If I was not in the mindset to talk to others then I should have accepted it and just tried my best. I was also focused on an outcome. I measured my success on whether I got a number or kissed a girl. I was not enjoying the process anymore. You see people doing this with their jobs. They are more focused on making money and end up never doing something with their lives that they actually enjoy. Everyone should have the right express their dream. Mr. Ruiz believes that the best way to thank God is to let go of the past and live out who you really are. Do not expect to live out every segment of your life perfectly from day to day. As long as you try your best and don’t let the judge into your life then that is all that matters.

Heaven on Earth

Miguel Ruiz believes that honoring God is living your life authentically. This means do not sacrifice you are and what you want. Life out these Four Agreements and Heaven can exist for you today. People will try and test you by sabotaging these agreements, but if you remain vigilant and strong then they will not bring you into their Hell.
Realize that all people really want is to be loved and accepted. You can give people this gift by realizing that loving yourself fully allows you to have an abundant amount of love for others.

If you live these agreements out then you will:

  • Not be afraid to ask what you want
  • Be free to be who you really are
  • No longer monitor your behavior based off of what others want
  • No need to be right
  • No need to make others wrong
  • No longer afraid to be rejected
  • Have the ability to live with an open heart
  • Love yourself the way you are

Check out the Video below for a more simplified version of these agreements:

If you’re interested in purchasing the book from amazon, you can get it here:

Don Miguel Ruiz - The Four Agreements

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