by Derek Lovell |
The five agreements are based on a book by Don Miguel Ruiz and have resonated well with many people, including myself. Everything we do is based on agreements we have made. Agreements with ourselves, with friends, family, our relationships and with life. But the most important agreements are the ones we make with ourselves. With these agreements we tell ourselves who we are, how to behave, what is possible and what is impossible. Understanding and abiding by these agreements will be sure to leave you in a state of peace and contentment regardless of the outcome to the situations.
1. Be impeccable with your word
Being honest with ourselves and others frees us to be real. Speak with integrity; don’t gossip or speak ill of others. Take responsibility—don’t blame. Being real feels good. Our reality is not going to match others’ realities because we all have our own movies going on in our heads. Perceptions vary because we’ve all lived a different life and processed the experiences of our lives through different glasses. If we lead our lives with loving intentions, and a do not harm with attitude, we can go to sleep at night with peace.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
No matter what we do or say, the reactions we receive from others is about them not us, even when we violate the first agreement! When we remember that the reaction of others is about their take on life we can give ourselves a break from having to try to be perfect in our actions, reactions and communications.
This doesn’t mean ignoring the do no harm concept, but it does relieve us when we feel we have abided that agreement and we’re still misunderstood. We all project at times, and we tend to get triggered when something hits a hot button that may be true at some level.
“By practicing the Five Agreements, what you are really doing is respecting everything in creation. You are respecting your dream; you are respecting everybody else’s dream. If you use these tools, your effort is really for everyone, because your joy, your happiness, your peace, and your heaven are contagious. When you are happy, the people around you are happy too, and it inspires them to change their own world.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
3. Don’t make assumptions
What’s the old adage? Assumptions make an ass of you and me? If everyone is living in their own fantasy world then it would stand to reason that they’re not in our made up world. Most of us aren’t mind readers, rather than think one should know what I want, why not make it clear by stating it?
Ask for what we want, ask questions to clarify actions that hurt or confuse us rather than assuming that the other person automatically thinks like us or should know better. If you’re going to make an assumption, I guarantee you’ll feel better giving the person the benefit of the doubt, even if that doesn’t turn out to be the case. Wouldn’t it be kinder to ourselves to assume the best?
We will be disappointed sometimes, sure, but going the alternate negative route means disappointment every time.
4. Always do your best
Our ‘best’ changes for day to day and even moment to moment depending on what’s going on in our lives and how healthy we feel physically, emotionally and spiritually. We can offer the world more love when we start with ourselves. We all mess up, but there’s no benefit in beating ourselves up over it. Let’s catch ourselves when we’ve stumbled off the path and take note without self-punishment.
5. Listen, but be skeptical
Since we all have a different life experience and these different ‘movies’ playing in our minds, it makes sense that we don’t know what we don’t know. This applies to listening to others and It applies to listening to our own thoughts and opinions. Whenever I’ve had an Ahah! moment I think, wow I just learned something new that I’d had a different opinion about only a moment ago. Up until that instant I might have been pretty darn certain about my old opinion!
So, we need to be open to others’ thoughts and ideas if we want to grow, learn, evolve and support each other. It doesn’t mean we’ll change our mind movies every time, but our attitudes with others will come across with acceptance and understanding which encourages connection. Isn’t that what our relationships are all about?
by Derek Lovell