Does anybody here live by the Four Agreements?
For anybody who is unfamiliar with them, they are ~
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
and a later addition ~
5. Be skeptical but learn to listen.
They are all based on Toltec Wisdom.
I’m currently re-reading book one, The Four Agreements, and after a few more re-reads I’ll move on to some re-reads of the Fitth Agreement.
It is said that if all of society practiced just one of the agreements, the world would change ~ but why stop at one?
I love reading the books, they don’t teach me anything I don’t know but I love the way the author describes how a person can live by the five agreements and live in perfect bliss and happiness.
With this book, there’s no need to understand the underlying laws that support these agreements but they can help a person to achieve perfect bliss regardless.
I know plenty of people who have read the book but I don’t know anybody who practices the agreements, who has made a commitment to them in their everyday lives.
What other inspiring books are people reading?
Not really, I don't do any of them because of something specific, although I do one, four and five by default.
If people put them into practice for long enough, they will eventually do them all by default.
Number one simply means speak your truth and don’t knowingly harm anybody with your words, such as by gossiping.
Number two simply means respect all others, treat them with compassion and don’t make it all about you basically.
You’re way ahead of the game of most people, having 3 out of 5.
Number five, although added later, I think is crucial. Many people give power to the book or teacher, without realising, any wisdom or happiness they experience, has to come from them and not a teacher, guru or saint or book or whatever. So I think if we only followed that one, we would do well.
but hold on... I think your very best is a sure path towards burn-out. Surely there are certain types of people - who actually need to do less of their best? And being impeccable with your word? What exactly does that mean? Does it mean the paralysis of looking at your telephone for hours before calling because you are worried your words won't be right?
My best, for the last 12 months, has been to lay in my bed, 24/7 and just rest. If I tried to do more than my best, I would have worn myself out and likely caused more damage.
To me, my best, however that looks, is always good enough and any less would be just as harmful as doing more than my best. If I wasn’t able to see that lying in my bed was the best I could do, I would have been giving myself a hard time, saying things like, you should get up, you’re lazy etc etc. So for me, if I always do my best, I’m free from burnout and self condemnation.
Being impeccable with your word simply means speaking your truth, being true to yourself and respecting all others and treating yourself and others with compassion.
For example, if I was feeling anxious about making a telephone call, which I frequently do ~ get anxious about making telephone calls that is, not that I actually make them frequently but I almost always get anxious about making them.
So if I were to be impeccable with my word, I would treat myself with compassion. I would tell myself, it’s ok to feel anxious, this is simply one of those things in life that you’re just not good at. I would counsel myself to take my time, take some deep breathes, know that I’m ok and that if I really can’t do it when it comes to it, then that’s ok as well, there are other ways to do this. I would take the pressure off myself and tell myself that it’s ok to get flummoxed on the phone, that most likely everybody has at some point in their life. I would self soothe myself. Let myself know that it’s ok, I don’t have to be good at making telephone calls. I might promise myself something nice after the phone call, such as a nice long bubble path or a walk in the park. Not as a ‘reward’ as such but something that will ease the anxiety of having made the phone call. It is about being kind, gentle and loving with yourself and others and to not use your words to hurt either yourself or others.
That makes sense!
I can override myself and push myself (I think more than most autistics- I don't think I have ever had a proper meltdown outside my parental home - and I am never quite sure what is good enough. So for me the challenge is to settle for less. So indeed to do my best would be to be kind to myself (and not do my best - to a perfect execution of a task, a perfect sentence, and being who I believe others expect me to be). It is difficult like knowing for certain what my own truth is, let alone the truths of others. It is all very complicated.
Treating oneself with compassion is beautiful advice.
Being able to know that we are always doing our best, is a process, as set out in the book. We have to first of all understand and accept our limitations (for want of a better word). This can take years because of course we have other points to consider. Such as, am I aiming for ‘my’ best or am I aiming to live up to some standard I have set myself? As you said, doing our best won’t always result in the perfect execution of a task, and that’s ok, if we live by the rule of always doing our best and accepting that our best is always good enough, even if it doesn’t reach the standards we set ourselves.
The truth is easy. We either know something or we don’t. For example, if you have a bottle of water in your fridge which is in your kitchen and you decide, while sitting on your sette in your living room, that you’re going to get that water and drink it.
You either know you can do that or you don’t. If you don’t know, for example, if you are experiencing extreme exhaustion and even opening your eyes could be too much, you might not be so sure that you could get the water and drink it. So in that case, you don’t know, but you could still try.
It’s the same with anything, we either know it or we don’t. We know far less than we do know so there’s no shame in ever saying, I don’t know, it is simply you speaking your truth.
Treating oneself with compassion is what life is really all about. If we take the time and effort to always treat ourselves with love and compassion, we find it easier to treat others the same way. If everybody did this, there would be no wars.
BlueRay, when I said that I live by number 4, my take on always doing my best is the same as yours, my best today didn't involve any more than getting up for an hour and making a cup of tea.