We make agreements with ourselves and everyone in our world all day long every day of the week. Many of them completely unconsciously.
From micro-agreements such as…the need to finish the food on our plate because there are starving children in the world or the need to workout to burn off the candy bar we had because of the guilt we feel and the tightness of our pants.
To macro-agreements such as…the attire we choose to wear because of cultural expectations of gender norms or the careers we pursue because they pay the bills.
The sum total of these agreements affect our lives in countless ways. Some constructively. And others, not so much. So how do we identify the agreements we have made? We take a deep dive into our thought and behavior patterns.
While strolling down memory lane, take note of what the voices in your head are saying. Are they positive and uplifting? Do you feel empowered and motivated to step outside of your comfort zone and grow? Do you feel inspired to go after your dreams? Or, do negative thoughts and limiting beliefs cloud your inner landscape? Do you question your worth and your abilities? Do you feel like a fraud?
What’s the life I’m worth living?
Ultimately, this is the guiding question. When you stumble upon a thought that feels not so great, this is a sign to stop and think. Pain helps us identify areas where joy is missing. Those painful memories or current circumstances are here to steer us to greatness. This is where we take control of our choices and work to reset our internal image.
Shifting your paradigm is neither quick nor easy. The good news: every day you wake up is another opportunity to transform your life. More good news: there is a phenomenal resource available that I have personally used to expand my awareness, challenge beliefs that were instilled at an early age, and support my evolution.
Enter…The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz. This masterpiece completely changed my life. If you haven’t read it yet, go and grab a copy asap. Reading or listening to this book (yes, I have it on Audible, Kindle, and print) is a yearly tradition for me. Every time I go through the book something resonates deep within and my journey of transformation continues.
For those of you who have yet to read the book, here is a quick overview of the agreements:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
The first time through the book -don’t take things personally- stuck out the most. Naturally, that’s where my work began. It dawned on me that this was a learned behavior which was modeled throughout my entire childhood into early adulthood. Twenty years of programming is not easily reversed. But, the universe provides daily opportunities to practice and master the art of letting go.
The second pass through the book -be impeccable with your word- struck me. The realization, to my dismay, that I was creating pain in my life and that of my children by making senseless remarks and criticizing myself and my precious babies was eye opening. I wish I could go back in time and take back all of those remarks…is that what you’re wearing?… I’m not so sure about your group of friends …why can’t you just -fill in the blank-? And instead of saying something that would kill their spirit, find the words that would uplift and support their individuality and learning.
The third go round with this marvelous book -don’t make assumptions- stood out and practically screamed at me. Though we all know what “assume” does, how many of us pause and really contemplate the habit of assuming. Rather than getting curious about our environment and the people in it, we assume we know what comes next and what people are thinking. Spoiler alert: we haven’t a clue.
I am looking forward to reading it again on New Year’s Eve and journaling the areas that still need some TLC. If you have read this inspiring work, let me know how it changed your paradigm. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Grab a copy and challenge your limiting beliefs. I dare you!
Leave me a note: What agreements do you make that you need to rethink?