According to www.merriam-webster.com an agreement is:
1 a: the act or fact of agreeing b: harmony of opinion, action, or character : CONCORD2 a: an arrangement as to a course of action b: COMPACT, TREATY3 a: a contract duly executed and legally binding b: the language or instrument embodying such a contract.
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- Compact or Treaty
- Legally binding
You have agreements that you have made with yourself. These agreements come from the beliefs that you have adopted throughout the course of your life.
As children, a few of you rebelled against what you were taught, but most of you accepted the information you received from parents, teachers and other adults. This is not all bad. Accepting the belief that you should not play in traffic and making an agreement with yourself not to play in traffic is part of why you are alive and reading this article right now! But accepting the belief that you will never be as smart as your older sister or that you are the family trouble maker does not serve you well at all.
The beliefs that you accept become part of your character. If you agree or accept the belief that you are the family trouble maker, then you will make causing trouble part of who you are. In a sense you have made a treaty with yourself to be that family trouble maker. Now maybe this is not legally binding, but it is emotionally binding and to your mind this is almost the same thing. You accept or agree that this is who you are and this is how you must behave.
Guess what? It does not have to be like this. You do not have to walk through life upholding all of the agreements that you adopted. And isn’t that a relief, because you might have a lot of old agreements that no longer make sense. They are rattling around in your head using your energy and taking up your brain space.
What Don Miguel Ruiz suggests to all of us in his book ‘The Four Agreements’ is that we let go of those old useless agreements and adopt four new agreements. Yes it takes a strong will to do this, but these are agreements that if kept will make your life easier. The four agreements are:
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
If you accept these new agreements and make them your own, you will find it so much easier to be true to yourself and to treat yourself and others with compassion.
There is an expression that is popular among dog lovers, it captures the essence of what I am trying to say; ‘Help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.’ Of course the assumption is that your dog sees only the best in you.
Don’t worry, next time we are going to dive into the agreements and explore the strength and purpose of each one.