The Four Agreements : Follow Up
Last week we explored the first two of the four agreements: Be Impeccable with your word & Don't Take Anything Personal. This week we will dive into the latter two: Don't Make Assumptions & Always Do Your Best. To reiterate Don Miguel Ruiz implores us to use the word (the first agreement) as the foundation for which to apply the rest of the agreements. And it takes repetition and practice, yes? We can't expect ourselves to dive in and BAM! we are experts and perfectly able to be forthright and honest with our words at all times. This takes gentle reminders and trying over and over again. We may choose to start anew each day, perhaps each moment recommitting to a new agreement with our authentic self. With that said, let's dive into the remaining agreements.
Don't Make Assumptions:
Everyday we get up and we tell ourselves a story. We live out our own personal dream or drama. We assume so much based on the agreements we have made with ourselves since childhood, which often live in us unchecked. What do we believe is right or wrong, and why? Where do these beliefs and ideas come from? The problem can be when we believe everything we think. We assume we know it all. We assume we know what that person should do, or should've done. We assume we know better. Do we ever stop to question why? And where does this belief come from? Does it serve us?
Don Miguel writes, "We make assumptions about what others are thinking or doing - we take it personally - and then we blame them and react by sending emotional poison with our word." In other words we hear what we want to hear and we see what we want to see, without questioning the validity of these stories we are telling ourselves.
Okay so now what? Should simply stop making assumptions? We need to start asking questions. Ask questions of yourself. Am I assuming I know everything there is to know here? Am I creating a story about this person and their behaviors without validating this with them? The first step is to start asking questions. Ask as many questions as you need about yourself, about others. Create some space for meaningful conversation, create clarity about the situation and the behaviors that surround them. Practice this skill and overtime your communication will dramatically change. Your understanding of yourself will deepen. You will begin to make this part of your daily life. A ritual. A "Puja".
Ask the questions. Ask "why" over and over again, just like a child who wants to know "why are we here" but "why" and "tell me more about that" over over again. Keep digging. This is the good work.
Always Do Your Best:
We are not talking about driving ourselves to exhaustion. In our culture we tend to think "doing our best" means to work a 60 hr work week without boundaries. We drive ourselves to the point of exhaustion, for what? This is not what we mean by doing our best. We mean do our best in terms of putting the first three agreements into practice, and just as a reminder, they are:
- Be Impeccable with your word
- Don't take anything personal
- Don't make assumptions
Now when we apply the action of doing our best on top of these three agreements we create this practice to keep trying. Knowing that our best will change from day to day, moment to moment. Sometimes we will have to say to ourselves I am not feeling 100% today, I will try my best with what I have to work with. This is not a cop out. This is learning to listen to our subtle body. This energetic sensation ebbs and flows depending on many factors; sleep, nutrition, hydration, chronic stress, daily habits of behaviors, etc. What agreements are we unconsciously acting out over and over to our own detriment? Start getting curious about this. You can begin to ask yourself these questions, in this way you can begin to understand what your best will look like moment to moment.
Let go of this idea of perfect. This is not what "Always Do Your Best" means. When I was going through yoga teacher training, there was a mantra that kept coming up for me: "purpose over perfect". I began asking myself why am I doing this? I began applying that question to all situations I would encounter. I began digging into the motive behind my actions. Was I forcing myself into an idea of "perfect" or was I choosing my actions from a place of authenticity, from a place of purpose. In this way we can begin to come back to our own individual purpose (we each have one) and then realize what our best will look like day to day. Every day is different. Every day is a blessing. Every day is a mystery. Always do your best to remember this. Practice speaking your truth, practice asking questions when you don't understand. Remember to be gentle with yourself when you need it. Meet yourself where you are. The rest will unfold before you.