It’s not personal. Four agreements to remember – which one is your favorite?


This quote is from the author of a book I always keep somewhere where I can at least see the hint of the cover at least daily as a reminder.

Don Miguel Ruiz is the author of  The Four Agreements which describes four principles to practice in order to create love and happiness in your life, and free ourselves from the incredible amount of baggage we all carry around.  They sound simple, but they are harder to consistently live by than you might think.

The agreements are based on the Toltec wisdom tradition which originated in southern Mexico thousands of years ago. It is not considered a religion, but a philosophy accessible to anyone open to its insights.

In a nutshell:

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.  (Little Red Riding Hood always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.)

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.  (This one is the hard to remember, but one that I have implemented in various areas of past conflict or hangups in my life,and it has made my relationships so much richer.  This one is huge.)

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. (Think how different the world would be if no one made assumptions. I need to work on this one.)

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.  (This one has come in very handy with my latest challenges with my Mom.  I have absolutely been doing my very best to ensure her well being and safety this last few years since her health has dramatically declined.  Thank goodness I can realize this without hesitation most days.)

My version of this , summarized:

1.  Keep my mouth shut if it’s not my business to tell or judge.

2. Most of the time, it’s not about me. Everyone has their own bag of issues.

3. Assumptions create problems, often where none exist.

4. My best is the best I can do.

Which agreement is your favorite?

31 thoughts on “It’s not personal. Four agreements to remember – which one is your favorite?

  1. What an interesting book! I like them all but I find making assumptions can be a huge mistake. Some of my friends do this and before they know it, they have made up an entire story about something that is totally on the wrong track! I must get some copies of this book and hand them out at Christmas 😉

  2. “Don’t make assumptions.” I am an overthinker, and tend to make all kinds of terrible things in my head instead of being patient and waiting for reality to reveal itself. Good post!

  3. They are all so helpful in living a more balanced life, it’s hard to pick! Not making assumptions is a big one for me. That goes hand in hand with not taking things personally. Just letting life happen and not making judgments about it, but noticing it and my reactions to to it is enough. That is hard work–it takes a lot on de-programming!

  4. My favorite: “… it’s not about me” … and as G.K. Chesterton said: “…How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it … You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers…”

  5. #1 is my favorite.. when one’s word is spoken with truth and honesty, well the bearer of those words is impeccable and that to me is a right human being.. (I hope that made sense)

  6. #1 is a doozy. I think we need to print it out on a 6 x 4 laminated sheet and send it to every politician we can…and to ourselves too.

  7. I have read that book and found it so helpful. It opened up a whole new world for me. I’m pretty good about 1 and 4 most of the time, but I have to keep reminding myself about #2 and #3! I would love to be so zen that I could accomplish all 4! But in order to do that I would have to come back as a monk in my next life! -): No kids, no family, just work and worship! hehe.

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