Years ago, I read “ The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” a self-help book by Don Miguel Ruiz.

In this book, the author introduces four principles to apply in life to remove self-limiting beliefs and gain more joy.

four agreements

The principles in the book have truly impacted my approach to life. Though simple, they can be challenging to apply consistently. These principles have been a great tool, particularly in the current climate.

Be impeccable with your word.

This first agreement emphasizes the importance of using our words carefully and of speaking with integrity. Being impeccable with your word means speaking the truth and avoiding gossip. When division is pushed by some, and honesty and accountability are rare traits, it is a good reminder that we should use our words carefully and understand that our words have power. We can use our voice in the direction of truth and integrity. We have the power to be kind and speak against injustice and in favor of love and equality.

Don’t take anything personally.

This agreement encourages you not to let other people’s behavior affect you. It highlights an important fact: people’s actions are the result of their own biases and sometimes insecurities. It is a factor to consider to minimize the impact that other people’s words or actions can have on you. At a time when the loud minority is promoting division and hate, it is essential to remind ourselves that people’s subjective realities drive their actions. Understanding that though you can’t change other people’s actions or words, you can decide not to let them bring or keep you down.

Don’t make assumptions.

It is easy to draw conclusions based on what you think people think or feel. Sometimes our interpretations can lead to misunderstandings and incorrect assessment of situations. Asking questions before concluding can avoid misunderstandings, disappointments, and unnecessary sadness. When in doubt, it is best to ask for clarification.

Always do your best.

Doing your best is less likely to result in having regrets and negatively judging yourself. Life is not fair; you will not always get what you deserve. But giving it your best shot is crucial. There’s a great feeling that results from knowing that you did everything that you could no matter the outcome.

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Photo: Vlada Karpovich

The Four agreements are simple, yet they can be challenging to apply every day. They can serve as a compass and a reminder that we can be more intentional about what we say and do and how we receive others’ words and actions. Choosing to adopt the Four Agreements can only lead to self-growth and more joy.

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Photo: Alexas Fotos

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Unknown