Real Relationship Advice
We are often asked if there is anything to read, other than CoupleDumb, that can help change your way of being and introduce mindfulness in a concrete manner. The only book that fits that bill is ‘The Four Agreements’. We have mentioned the ‘Four Agreements’ several times on CoupleDumb and it never fails how often we use them in real life. Don Miguel Ruiz brings ancient Toltec wisdom to a modern world and provides very practical ways to stay mindful.
The Four Agreements according to Don Miguel Ruiz (from the book of the same title)
1. Be Impeccable with your Word- It takes a bit of discipline to always speak with integrity. When we promise something, give our word, it is a contract. Our word, according to Don Miguel Ruiz, is all we have. When we respect ourselves and others, our word becomes very important to maintain that honesty in our relationship. When we speak, we think first. When we choose our words we are being mindful and then following up with whatever we declared, stated or promised.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally- Keeping your emotions in check takes mindfulness. Knowing how we feel and being mindful of how this emotion is affecting us and the people around us takes discipline as well. When others do or say things about us, it is really their perception and projection of you. In other words, they are insulting or abusing a construct of you that they have created based on their own feelings of inadequacies or traumas. It has nothing to do with you. Keeping your ego in check takes a lot of training but remembering that it’s not personal, no matter how personal the other person wants to make it, makes being mindful very easy.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions- Do you know how much energy goes into making assumptions? People spend most of their day assuming and anticipating the reactions of the people. By not assuming we free up our minds to focus on what we want other than just making an ‘ass out of u and me’. Also, assumption plays into the other agreements as well. If you don’t take things personally then you do not need to dissect the comments of the other person and assume their motivations.
4. Always Do Your Best- Being mindful is a practice. Practice makes ‘perfect’. If we promise ourselves to take several time-outs a day to be mindful, and we are impeccable with our word, then we should do our best to fulfill our promise! Funny how we will move mountains for others but break our word to ourselves. This is where mindfulness insists that we honor our needs.
Mindfulness is a selfish process. Perhaps this is why we have so many problems being mindful. We have been taught that selfishness is all bad and selflessness is all good. In reality, nothing in extreme is good. We must seek the balance between the two and especially be nice to ourselves.
So, how would your life be better if you followed The Four Agreements? Which one would really change your life?