Elisabeth (aka the CHAARG founder who is also an incredible leader/friend/guru) encouraged me to read The Four Agreements. It’s short and, at first, seems like a stereotypical, self-help book. I decided to give it a chance, especially since my sass levels have been at an all-time high lately. Maybe it’s family stress, work obstacles, or just the current political climate, but I need some insight on how to unload some weight from my shoulders.
I squat enough as it is, and I don’t need anything else! 😉
The Four Agreements are:
- Be Impeccable With Your Word
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best
Again, they seem obvious, and I know I’ve read them before, but the way they were discussed, it shed some great insight on blockers in my life that I didn’t realize I was enabling.
- Be Impeccable With Your Word
For someone who adores words and communication, I’ve recently caught myself not staying true to my word. No, I’m not a pathological liar, but I’ve gotten so good at schmoozing that I sometimes lose myself in the talk. For example, I was recently talking with a higher-up at work about brunch spots, and they asked if I had ever been to one with a Bloody Mary Bar. I lied and said yes, trying to sound cool and not wanting to admit that for the last couple of years I’ve always worked during typical brunch hours and still haven’t been to brunch more than once or twice for special occasions. Suddenly, I was engaging in an entire conversation about how much I love Bloody Mary’s. I have never drank a Bloody Mary in my life. What the fuck, Mary? Lol why?!
Obviously, I was trying to impress someone and was trying to sound cool. I didn’t want to sound lame by saying I don’t really like drinking. I wanted to engage in conversation about anything other than work. I wasn’t staying true to myself, and I wasn’t impeccable to my word.
While this conversation is trivial, it makes me realize other instances where I lie to myself. I tell myself I want to spend my evenings doing something I don’t actually want to do. I convince myself that I should be stressed because of everything else going on in my life.
The more aware I become, the more I reverse the conversation and enable myself to do what I want. Sometimes, doing what I want is nothing at all. It means clearing my planner for a couple hours and doing something that sounds good spontaneously. Sometimes, doing what I want means turning off my Snapchat notifications because 90% of messages are half-assed with no direct message to me. Being impeccable to my word means truly listening to myself.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Based on my spring cleaning, this has been one of my biggest improvements. I’ve been learning to care less about what other think. If someone says something nasty to me, it’s not a reflection of me but of them. That means that may need extra love and support, and maybe that means they need space. They don’t necessarily deserve it from me, but their “emotional poison” is a reflection of their inner turmoil and does not affect me. As I’m learning to be at peace with myself, my valuation does not rest on anyone else.
Alternatively, something I had not considered was that positive words from others shouldn’t be taken personally. While compliments and kind words can make me feel happy and loved, they shouldn’t. I should be grateful and appreciative, of course, but I should be appreciative of them bravely expressing their love for me. If I take their kind words personally, that means I am growing my self-love through the words of others and not my own. I want my self-love to be fully independent, so compliments shouldn’t be everything. They are sweet, but I should feel whole and awesome without compliments from anyone else. My confidence should be built on self-affirmations.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Do you ever realize you’ve made so many assumptions that you’ve created an entirely false reality in your head? My optimistic self says this is imagination, but reality tells me that this can be dangerous. Constantly seeking explanations results in assumptions which can result in unclear communication and expectations.
For example, suppose someone doesn’t answer your text. You could create an entire story in your head about how you pissed them off. You worry and stress why they aren’t answering and what you should do. You type out multiple follow-up messages, but erase them. You ask mutual friends if you know why they’re not answering. You send screenshots to unrelated friends and ask them if they think you said anything wrong. Meanwhile, your friend got a phone call with bad news and is rushing home for a family emergency. Or, maybe even your friend is trying to not use her phone as much or decided to treat themselves to a workout class or a nap (both awesome treats). You created all this stress and drama in your head based on a false assumption instead of being patient.
How much stress could you remove from your life if you stopped making assumptions?
4. Always Do Your Best
Of course, these Agreements are all easier said than done. Yeah, your life would be a million times better if you followed through these Agreements, but that would be too simple. To live your best life, you must always do your best. Your best fluctuates based on the present circumstances, but if you always do your best, you can always forgive yourself and always love yourself.
I encourage you all to read the book. I read it in 48 hours within 2 hour-long blocks. The Four Agreements offered tremendous reminders on how to live simply and how to live happily. You deserve to live in your own personal heaven, and I hope that you prioritize that. Do it for yourself.
++ Mary K