The following is an overview of the meaning of each of The Four Agreements, based on the writings of don Miguel Ruiz.
Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Impeccable means “without sin” and a sin is something you do or believe that goes against yourself. It means not speaking against yourself, to yourself or to others. It means not rejecting yourself. To be impeccable means to take responsibility for yourself, to not participate in “the blame game.”
Regarding the word, the rules of “action-reaction” apply. What you put out energetically will return to you. Proper use of the word creates proper use of energy, putting out love and gratitude perpetuates the same in the universe. The converse is also true.
Impeccability starts at home. Be impeccable with yourself and that will reflect in your life and your relationships with others. This agreement can help change thousands of other agreements, especially ones that create fear instead of love.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
We take things personally when we agree with what others have said. If we didn’t agree, the things that others say would not affect us emotionally. If we did not care about what others think about us, their words or behavior could not affect us.
Even if someone yells at you, gossips about you, harms you or yours, it still is not about you! Their actions and words are based on what they believe in their personal dream.
Our personal “Book of Law” and belief system makes us feel safe. When people have beliefs that are different from our own, we get scared, defend ourselves, and impose our point of view on others. If someone gets angry with us it is because our belief system is challenging their belief system and they get scared. They need to defend their point of view. Why become angry, create conflict, and expend energy arguing when you are aware of this?
Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
When we make assumptions it is because we believe we know what others are thinking and feeling. We believe we know their point of view, their dream. We forget that our beliefs are just our point of view based on our belief system and personal experiences and have nothing to do with what others think and feel.
We make the assumption that everybody judges us, abuses us, victimizes us, and blames us the way we do ourselves. As a result we reject ourselves before others have the chance to reject us. When we think this way, it becomes difficult to be ourselves in the world.
Take action and be clear to others about what you want or do not want; do not gossip and make assumptions about things others tell you. Respect other points of view and avoid arguing just to be right. Respect yourself and be honest with yourself. Stop expecting the people around you to know what is in your head.
Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Doing your best means enjoying the action without expecting a reward. The pleasure comes from doing what you like in life and having fun, not from how much you get paid. Enjoy the path traveled and the destination will take care of itself.
Living in the moment and releasing the past helps us to do the best we can in the moment. It allows us to be fully alive right now, enjoying what is present, not worrying about the past or the future.
Have patience with yourself. Take action. Practice forgiveness. If you do your best always, transformation will happen as a matter of course.
I love this book! The hardest agreement for me is to not make assumptions. I do it automatically and so often I don’t even notice it sometimes. Mastering these four agreements will change your life but it takes a life long practice. There is also the fifth agreement in his second book co-written by his son. “Be Skeptical but Learn to Listen”
A couple of these really will help me out. Enjoyment without the expectation of reward is something that makes a lot of sense to me, but I find it very difficult to convince myself that the journey is enough. With some things, such as playing music, I suppose the action is the reward but many things I feel like I only do for the reward. It seems like maybe this means I should change those things. I like the way speaking impeccably is described. I often am very careful when I speak but then I will go a bit beyond the evidence or use very emotively charged words. I need to be a bit more sinless with my arguments. Thanks.
Well, thank you for this! Some of those agreements are hard to follow, namely don’t take anything personally as sometimes I can get nervous, but for example giving always the best of ourselves is a great principle, a life changing one.