I seriously can’t recall the last time I made new year resolutions. When I did, they seemed do-able till mid-February and then, like fluffy, flighty clouds, faded away into nothingness: quickly and regrettably forgotten. Over the years I wondered why its hard for almost anyone to stick to their resolutions. Could it be that the idea of ‘resolving’ was harsh, punitive and inflexible? “I resolve to lose those pounds” or “I resolve to spend more time with family” sounded more like diktats which, if not followed, would make me a bad person.
May I propose a different angle to this new year’s plans and aspirations? Read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Its not a long read, its hugely simplified and yet its message, if truly internalized has the capacity to transform in a deep and profound way. It is indeed as it claims, a practical guide to personal freedom. Imagine freeing up great amounts of energy for productive, creative endeavors that used to be consumed in stressful, societal obligations. Feels light isn’t it?
Here are the four agreements and brief excerpts about each one of them:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
What I love about this book and its message is that its so easy to incorporate into daily life: we interact with others, at work, at home, in the supermarket. We attend parties and work lunches. We live with loved ones who invoke our ire from time to time: the opportunities are right in front of us, to exercise one or all of the agreements. Personally for me, agreements one and three have had a very profound effect: I’ve become more and more mindful and aware of the words that I speak. And not making assumptions? I felt much lighter by making that agreement with myself! Just ask. Sure it takes courage but once you taste the truth, you wouldn’t want it any other way.
This is a powerful book with the capacity to transform how we feel, see and experience our world. A true gift for anyone seeking inner growth and evolution.
Let me know if you read this book and what you think of it.