The Four Agreements

Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements Applied to Higher Ed. Leadership — Dr.  Audrey Reille

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom was a book I read many years ago. I enjoyed it so much my husband and I used it during one of our Marriage Enrichment courses. I only started reading the book after seeing it as a recommendation on Pinterest but the four agreements have been instrumental in my personal and professional life.

In Ruiz’ book, he states, “children do not know any better than to agree with the adult realities into which they are indoctrinated.” He goes on to say, “Children have no choice but to agree.” “But as we mature, we can become warriors, breaking free from the shackles of agreements with our implanted, false ideas. We can accept healthier agreements.”

As I sit and read blogs, scroll this social media and watch teenagers and young adults in action I am seeing the words of Ruiz’ come to life. This generation is respectfully setting boundaries with the adults in their lives and definitely moving away from ideas that have been ingrained in their minds. They are no longer doing things because “that’s what we’ve always done”. Ruiz has set a standard and teenagers and adults alike are becoming healthier, happier people.

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word – Speak with integrity. Say what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak out against yourself or gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. – This is the part that offends most people. The truth does hurt. Most people see the truth as an act of pain instead of an act of progress. We don’t want to be corrected. We are afraid to correct ourselves because people will know we made a mistake. Stay encouraged, speak life into yourself and learn to speak life into others.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because if you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. – We are quick to tell someone, “Do You” until it doesn’t benefit us or go along with our narrative. We must learn to accept peoples’ realities and respect their views and opinions. What they choose to do has little to do with me. Even when it impacts me, their decisions were for their welfare.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. – Communication is key in any relationship. Often we look for clues and make hints so we can draw our own conclusions. Making assumptions stops progress. When we make assumptions, we misunderstand, we take it personally and then we react, typically negatively. Ask for what you need, even information.
  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. – This is a learning lesson for many. I have to tell myself daily, “You gave your best.” In working with students, they become easily frustrated when things don’t turn out the way they expect them to turn out. This is especially true of athletes. My question is always, “Did you try your best?” or “Did you give the best you had today?” And I end the conversation.

Do you practice any of these agreements? Are you living life on your own terms? I am learning to free myself of the past and live life on my own terms. I encourage you to find the emotional, mental and physical freedom that allows you to be true to you.

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