For my book club at work, we're reading Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
. Though I've already read the book before, this time I'm reading it through a new perspective. I'm reading it to see how we can all use these four agreements to improve our relationships with ourselves. The more I read, the more I realize that these four agreements are not only important for our relationships with others, but they are also essential for having loving relationships with ourselves. If you haven't read the book, I'd highly recommend doing so with the topic of self-love in mind. Today I'm going to walk you through the four agreements and discuss how we can use these four principles to make the most of self-love in our own lives.
Agreement #1: Be Impeccable with Your Word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Speaking with integrity sounds easy enough, but it's often more complex than one might think. Depending on the situation or the person or your stance on a subject, it can be hard to speak the truth. Do it anyway. No matter how hard it is. If you are honest with others -- and, more importantly, with yourself -- you will be able to cultivate a higher state of love for yourself. When you are honest and truthful, you are not weighed down by shame or self-doubt. When you avoiding speaking against yourself or against others, you are encouraging your mind to turn toward love instead of hate. Loving yourself and others starts with being honest about who you are, who they are, and what matters most to you.
Agreement #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 is my favorite agreement and incorporating it into my life has helped me in so many ways. The more I realized that it's not all about me, the more I am able to focus on loving myself. Many people think that others' reactions or words are reflections of themselves and this belief often leads to unnecessary stress and blame. When you take others' opinions to heart, you are not being true to yourself. Hard as it can be to realize sometimes, what other people do is about them, not about you. Learning this will allow you to focus on loving yourself -- and take a closer look at how your self-love is projecting (or not) to others.
Agreement #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.
Assumptions are bad news. Though assumptions are often based on experience or knowledge of some sort, it's very hard to predict what will happen in life or what others will do. When you assume what others will do, you often let yourself (and others) down. If you want to love yourself -- and others -- fully, you have to communicate. Most importantly, you have to communicate with yourself. You must be honest with yourself and pay attention to when you are making assumptions. Not only should you not assume what others will do, but you should not make assumptions about your own actions. Be open to change and be open to treating yourself with love.
Agreement #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.
If you really want to embrace an attitude of self-love, Agreement #4 is critical. When you do your best, you will always feel good about what you have accomplished. You will never look back and wonder, "What if I had tried harder...?" You will know you have given your all and you will respect and value yourself for doing that. As Ruiz said, doing your best will help you to avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret. Never forget how much doing your best can impact your life in a positive way and inspire you to truly love who you are.