The 4 Agreements: This Book Will Change How You Take On Everyday Annoying Situations

The 4 Agreements: This Book Will Change How You Take On Everyday Annoying Situations
nexus

On our journeys toward self-love and improving our spiritual well-being, it can be very easy to blaze through self-help books, only to immediately forget all the new bits of wisdom we’ve learned when somebody steals our parking spot or leaves all of their dishes in the sink...for days. Patience, kindness, and generosity can be learned with intentional daily practice. Enter The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz’s best-selling book that breaks down four principles to practice in order to cultivate love and happiness in our everyday lives. The key word here? Practice! Read on for examples of how to apply these practices in your everyday life and be on your way to a calmer, more content you!

Agreement #1: Be Impeccable with your Word

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What It Means

The first Agreement is all about saying what you mean, meaning what you say, and understanding the power that your words hold, regardless of if they’re verbalized or just thoughts. Ruiz emphasizes using the power of your Word toward truth and love, rather than toward being a gossipy hater towards others and yourself.

The Situation

One of your roommates is talking your ear off AGAIN about your third roommate, who you admittedly do sometimes find annoying (why are his dirty socks always between the couch cushions??). Both of these roommates are your good friends, but those two have had some issues between them that don’t involve you. Roommate A is saying some really harsh things about Roommate B, and has also just told you about something very personal and sensitive that he overheard Roommate B talking about on the phone earlier.

How to Practice

Listening to one friend vent and gossip about another friend is tough. You want to be a good listener to the venter, but you don’t want to participate in bashing your other friend. The thing is, by continuing to listen to the gossip without trying to veer away from the topic, you are affirming your gossip friend’s behavior, therefore becoming culpable in it. The best way to deflect this convo is to be simple, straightforward, and bring up something else. “I don’t really feel comfortable talking about this, and I think this is between the two of you. You should have a conversation with him about XYZ! But anyway, blah blah blah…” On to the next, just like that! Also, I’m sure you know this, but whatever the gossip was that Roommate A passed along to you about Roommate B is none of your business, and is not yours to share with anyone else.

Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

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What It Means

Other people’s actions have nothing to do with you. They are a projection of their own reality, their own suffering, and their own perspective. You will save yourself from needless turmoil by recognizing this.

The Situation

One of your friends is lovely in every way, except for the fact that he is constantly EXTREMELY late to any plans that you make with him. You love hanging out with him (once he eventually makes it, full of excuses), but it’s getting to the point where you often feel disrespected and upset with him.

How To Practice

Next time you find yourself waiting forever for your friend, instead of allowing yourself to wallow in unkind thoughts about him as a person, focus on what it is about his behavior that you would like him to change and hold himself accountable for. Recognize that this is something that he does consistently in many other situations, and that he is not intentionally trying to disrespect your time. Instead of OMG, I can’t believe this is happening AGAIN, what a disrespectful ass, focus on how you feel about this behavior. By redirecting your thought process toward pinpointing what behaviors you need him to change in order to fix this problem, you’re not only keeping your thoughts productive and compassionate toward your friend, but you’re also on the way to being able to have a healthy conversation with him about it. This also kills two birds with one stone! You aren’t taking his lateness as a personal attack, and you aren’t bashing him in your head. You’re halfway there!

Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions

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What It Means

Find the strength to ask questions and bring up difficult topics, rather than allowing yourself to fill in the blanks about a person’s motives. Communicate clearly and with understanding; give others the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions.

The Situation

One of your friends has been flaking on you at the last minute a ton lately.

How to Practice

You already know how to redirect your thoughts toward compassion rather than anger at your friend and not to take her flakiness personally. Now, it’s time to quiet whatever assumptions you have about the reasons behind her flaking. You may be worried that she’s over your friendship, or that she’s mad at you about something. Sure, it could be either of those things, but she could also be depressed lately, super overwhelmed by work, or too broke to do what you had planned. You never know until you bring it up with her! Short and simple is key here. For example: “Hey boo, I really miss you lately and I’ve felt bad about plans being cancelled. What’s been up?” Telling her how you feel, rather than blaming her(i.e “You’ve been really flakey and it’s shitty.”) and leaving the door open for her to let you know what’s going on in her world will hopefully leave her feeling loved and comfortable enough to be honest with you.

Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best

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What It Means

Simply be the best version of yourself that you’re able to muster in any given moment. This will change moment to moment. Your best when you’re sick as opposed to healthy will be different. Jus show up with as best intentions as you can as often as you can.

The Situation

You have a huge presentation due at work tomorrow...the day after you’ve just been dumped, your dog died, you had food poisoning, and got a cold sore. [email protected]!!!

How To Practice

I’m so sorry about your terrible, no good, very bad day. Your best might not be up the standards you normally have set for yourself, but under the circumstances, be kind, and try not to judge yourself if you stumble over your words a little and don’t feel as confident as you might have. I’m eye-rolling at myself as I type this next phrase, but I PROMISE- this too shall pass.

This post was originally published on ASTRAL & OPAL