The Four Agreements: why should you apply them in your life?

So no, it’s not a score of Peruvian or Mexican music… The Four Agreements are a reference to a book that became a best-seller.

It’s about rules of life that guarantee freedom, happiness and love. This book has provoked a lot of reactions, more or less in its favor. The author, Miguel Angel Ruiz, is a Mexican lecturer and writer.

His book was published in 1997 in the United States (under the title “The Four Agreements”).

With only a hundred pages, it’s a book that reads pretty quickly. Although it is a “small” book, it has sold millions of copies (four million or so) internationally.

So here’s your little guide to everything about The Four Agreements. Let’s get this show on the road!

The Four Agreements: what is it?

The Four Agreements are, as their name indicates, agreements.

Yes, but what else? The author, Miguel Ruiz, proposes to spend these Four Agreements with oneself in order to avoid any situation of suffering and to see the true reality.

He denounces the conditioning suffered from childhood on everything related to culture and education: what is good or not good, what is true or false, what is beautiful or ugly, and so on.

It also denounces the personal projections that have influenced people to have a false image of themselves and of the world in general.

In the end, all this is not new. In fact, we find the principles of cognitive therapy that highlights the pitfalls caused either by a lack of distance or by generalization. So if what Miguel Ruiz wrote in his 4 Agreements is not new, why has the book been so successful worldwide?

Actually, it’s very simple. The author was able to use relatively simple words while at the same time highlighting concrete examples.

So this book is not only for insiders, but it is accessible and understandable for everyone.

The author also takes himself as an example to point out that if he has succeeded in implementing these four agreements with himself, then anyone can do it too. These Four Agreements are :

– that your word be impeccable

– whatever happens, don’t make it personal.

– don’t assume

– always do your best

And a fifth Toltec agreement is added to the first four:

– Be skeptical, but learn to listen…

So let’s look at these agreements in more detail.

The first agreement: let your word be impeccable

This first agreement invites us to speak with integrity and to say only what we think.

One should therefore not use words against oneself, nor should one be slanderous towards others.

Miguel Ruiz emphasizes the power of words. We are all marked by hurtful phrases that were spoken to us when we were younger or even older.

What comes out of our mouths has the power to do harm. With words, we have the power to destroy but also to build. We can take the example of telling a child that he is fat.

Well, this will have an influence on his life and his opinion of himself because he will always feel that he is fat.

So how do you implement the first Toltec agreement?

Well, it’s best to moderate what you say by finding the right balance. One should not exaggerate whether it is in quantity or flow. This applies to all the criticism and judgements we make of others.

But it also applies to what we say to ourselves, such as “I suck”, “I’m not going to make it”, “I’m ugly”, etc.

All these words are negative and they have a bad influence on our mind. In the end, these criticisms and judgments are the result of the false images we have of others and of the world in general.

In short, we should not talk too much, but rather tell the truth by putting forward positive things that concern us and others.

The second agreement: whatever happens, do not make it personal.

This second Toltec agreement highlights the fact that the actions and words of others only correspond to their own reality. As soon as you have a shield against this, you no longer suffer needlessly.

In short, what someone else says and does is not your concern. If someone criticizes you, judges you, insults you, that’s the image that person has of you but it’s not who you really are.

In the same way, what happens is not always related to your behavior. According to Mexican author Miguel Ruiz, it is important not to fall into the self-centeredness that leads us to believe that everything is related to our actions. According to him, this egocentrism plunges us into illusion and leads to the fact that we suffer.

In order to implement this second agreement, we need to take a step back. We must not take for ourselves what concerns someone else.

Otherwise, we simply get sadness, fear or anger out of it. The goal is not to take responsibility for the words and actions of others.

The third agreement: don’t make assumptions

This third agreement says that one must have the courage to ask questions and express one’s true desires. One must be able to express oneself and communicate clearly with others so as not to cause grief or drama.

In fact, assumptions are harmful.

Assuming is making assumptions that you end up believing. Take the example of your partner who didn’t text you today.

You think he’s angry with you or that you did something wrong or that something happened to him, etc. You think he’s angry with you or that you did something wrong or that something happened to him, etc. You think he’s angry with you. You are poisoning yourself emotionally.

To avoid this, you need to be able to clarify things by talking about your doubts. So you need to be able to listen and hear.

To do this, you must realize that your assumptions are nothing more than false ideas.

From the moment you believe in your assumption (“my partner is angry”), you will be under pressure (“I’m not going to contact him”). Obviously, all of this is a source of stress and anxiety.

The fourth agreement: always do your best

The fourth agreement simply says that one must do one’s best in all circumstances.

If you reread the first three Agreements, they are directly related to this fourth one. Indeed, if you go to extremes, you consume all your energy and this leads to the fact that you act against yourself.

Whereas if you go to the opposite extreme, that is, do less, you will experience frustration, regret and guilt. So you have to find the right balance by doing your best.

You must understand that what is good and right for you has nothing to do with any standard.

Sometimes the best thing for you is to listen to music, or to rest, or to play sports, or to go out and so on. You just have to get away from the desire for perfection. Rather than thinking that you have to do something, think that you can do something.

The difference is that you are going to do this “something” without asking yourself what others will think or expect.

The fifth agreement: be skeptical, but learn to listen.

Originally there were only four agreements, but in 2010 the author Miguel Ruiz wrote the fifth agreement. In it he says that you should not believe yourself or others. We must doubt and question what we hear by asking ourselves whether it is really the truth. From there, we must learn to listen.

People who constantly complain cannot understand that what happens to them is related to what they are saying. For example, by saying “I’m afraid of falling”, I’m going to fall and I’ll be even more afraid of falling afterwards.

It is a vicious circle that will continue to repeat itself until we understand that it is the fear of falling that makes us fall. We must therefore go beyond this fear.

This fifth chord leads to a higher level of consciousness, namely the freedom to be who you really are.

In fact, the first four Agreements are more about being in agreement with oneself while the fifth chord is about being open to others.

It is also about learning to respect your own dreams, to accept yourself as you are without having to change anything.

It is our beliefs that constitute our reality, so to change this reality, we must change our beliefs. That’s why we have to doubt, we have to be skeptical and succeed in questioning what others say and what we tell ourselves.

We must then learn to listen to improve communication. Not everyone necessarily shares the same opinion without there being a more or less right, more or less true version. It is not necessary to agree with everything and everyone and be able to listen.

The Four Agreements: the summary

The Four Agreements, and the fifth, are therefore the origin of the books by the Mexican author Miguel Ruiz.

To sum up, the first Toltec chord is “let your speech be impeccable”, the second chord is “whatever happens, don’t make it personal”, the third chord is “don’t make assumptions”, the fourth chord is “always do your best”, and the fifth Toltec chord is “be skeptical, but learn to listen”.

In short, all these Agreements should make you feel good in your head and body.

Everything is developed to allow you to be at peace with yourself and with the outside world.

What do you think of these agreements? Do you find them rather true or rather ridiculous?


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