BY JENN A. NOCERA
"There are thousands of agreements you have made with yourself, with other people, with your dream of life, with God, with society, with your parents, with your spouse, with your children. But the most important agreements are the ones you made with yourself. In these agreements you tell yourself who you are, what you feel, what you believe, and how to behave." ~Don Miguel Ruiz
As a Life and Wellness Coach, I work with clients to create more satisfaction and happiness in their lives. This, usually, involves identifying one's core values. It is important to know what is truly important to you in order to pursue goals that will motivate you and bring satisfaction. As Carl Rogers said, "Clarifying your values is the essential first step towards a richer, fuller, more productive life."
Sometimes, I recommend that clients read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) (1997). The author, Don Miguel Ruiz, offers profound suggestions about how to change your life. He provides four seemingly simplistic "agreements", or principles, that are sure to be challenging at first. They are:
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
At first glance, these agreements may seem simplistic. However, they may prove very difficult to live by. Initially, adopting these four resolutions creates a conflict in the mind as one begins to challenge the beliefs and habits learned in childhood. We do many things automatically - often unaware of the assumptions and "agreements" we have made in life. Adopting the four agreements will push you out of your comfort zone as you begin to recognize how your mind makes assumptions.
Many of the agreements we have made come from a place of fear. They deplete our energy and decrease our self-worth. Becoming aware of these agreements and their effect on our lives can be a very unpleasant process. We must wake up to how the mind makes assumptions out of habit and behaves accordingly.
Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an "agreement" and it becomes part of our belief system. Don Miguel Ruiz recognizes how challenging it can be to change the agreements we have made. He refers to those with the courage to challenge the false beliefs, fears, and lies that create suffering and unhappiness as "spiritual warriors" who embark on a journey of commitment to love the self.
Let's discuss each agreement briefly. Be impeccable with your word. Words are powerful. Use your power for good. Speak with integrity. Do not use your word against yourself or others. Eliminate gossip. Don't take anything personally. Everyone is living in their own "dream", with their own set of agreements and circumstances. Nothing anything does is because of you. Eliminate needless suffering by becoming immune to the opinions and actions of others. Don't make assumptions. Learn to communicate clearly. Be assertive enough to ask questions and state your needs and wants. Always do your best. Obviously, your best varies from day to day and from moment to moment. Your best will be different when you are healthy and well-rested than when you are sick. Do your best, and you will avoid judging yourself harshly and having regrets. Continue to learn and evolve. Compete with yourself. As Maya Angelou said, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
The Four Agreements offers a powerful code of conduct that can transform our lives. We can have a new experience of life - one filled with love, happiness, and freedom. We can learn to express ourselves with love rather than continue to exist abiding by fear-based beliefs. If you are able to fully adopt and commit to even just one of the agreements, your life will likely change dramatically.
Change yourself, change "your world", and impact the rest of the world. Living your life coming from a place of love instead of fear elevates yourself, increases your happiness level, and creates "heaven on earth". If everyone adopted these four agreements, the world would be a very different place. As Mahatma Ghandi pointed out, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world".
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Coach Jenn A. Nocera, MA, MFT, CLSC, CPFT is a Life & Wellness Coach, Personal Fitness Trainer, and Psychotherapist. Contact her to find out how Coaching can help you change the agreements you've made in life. Learn how to cultivate the mindset and habits necessary to master your challenges rather than fall victim to life's circumstances.
Set up an Initial Interview with Coach Jenn by clicking here.