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The Four Agreements

In Don Miguel Ruiz’s books The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Self, he distills ancient Toltec wisdom for the modern reader. Before jumping into the agreements (aka the Toltec rules of life), there are a few concepts that need to be explained. First of all, domestications. From an early age we are taught how to behave and are molded by our parents, environment, and society. We have been given a set of rules for how we are supposed to live our lives. All people are domesticated but not necessarily in the same ways. These domestications often remain unexplored and can lead to a disconnection between who we are, who we think we should be, and who we actually want to be. Secondly, we all move about the world wearing masks. We choose what parts of ourselves to show and we change how we present ourselves based on who we are engaging with. Additionally, people project ideas onto the masks that they see us wear based on their own domestications. What people say and do to you is a reflection on them, not you. The only way to prevent taking things personally is by truly and deeply knowing yourself. Thirdly, through self-reflection we can notice our domestications and outdated beliefs that are holding us back. Frequently these thoughts are fear-based and self-limiting. After recognizing, you can then replace those outdated beliefs with thoughts that are in line with your chosen belief system. The ongoing process of self-reflection requires forgiveness of others and most of all, of yourself. Without further ado, the four agreements are as follows:

  1. Be impeccable with your word.

  2. Don’t take anything personally.

  3. Don’t make assumptions.

  4. Always do your best.

Try applying these concepts to your day-to-day life this week and if you want to learn more, check out Don Miguel Ruiz’s books The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Self.

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