Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Four Agreements

Sometimes I have a hard time communicating with my Mother.  What's new! We went to see a show this weekend. And as she got into the car, I noted she had an umbrella.  In a neutral tone (or so I thought) I asked, "Mom, is it supposed to rain today?"  I figured maybe she had listened to the weather report and knew something I did not.  Silently I was wondering why she was carrying an umbrella on a sunny day with a cloudless sky.

Her response was unexpected.  She got mad and asked why I had insulted her.  I was taken aback!  How can you take offense if I'm just discussing the weather?!

So, I went back to "my corner of the ring" and considered what I had done wrong.  But I had no framework to evaluate this odd interchange.  Later that day I faintly heard the words from a ceremony Chuck was editing.  The officiant read Don Miguel Ruiz' Four Agreements.  They are:

1.  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. 

2. 
Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering. 

3. 
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. 

4. 
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.


Ah ha!  It's easy to see that Mom was the offender here.  She violated Agreements #2 and 3 - Don't take it personally and Don't make assumptions.  Obviously, I huffed, she assumed I meant to insult her.  Always thinking the worst of people.  But wait a minute.  Was I totally blameless?  

Maybe my fault lay in not living up to the first agreement. Maybe I was mindlessly making chit-chat and didn't bring full attention and focus to my Mother.  Maybe I didn't say "Mom, is it supposed to rain today?" with truth and love. Being a sensitive woman, maybe she felt the 1% of sarcasm I thought I had hid so well. Well, I guess we were both at fault.  

All you can do is your best (see Agreement #4).  So next time, I'll do better. 

4 comments:

Events by Evonne, LLC said...

What a great post, Jewel... I will have to print this out and remind myself everyday not to take things personally, and not to make any assumptions!

J Sav said...

And for my part, I will try to speak impeccably.

The Flirty Girl said...

Very wise words to live by. And a great reminder when we suspect or know we've been misunderstood, sometimes allowing people to think the worst of us is all we can do. Hopefully the rest of the time they will see the best in us.

J Sav said...

Love your determination to always see the best in others.