Book Review Of "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz

Back in 2013 a friend recommended that I listen to an audiobook that "will change my life." Well, I listened to the audiobook and immediately headed to Barnes and Noble in New York to purchase the book.

The book did change my life and I hope that it will change yours as well. The book is called "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is a man who grew up with this knowledge passed on through centuries by his ancestors but instead decided to pursue medicine. Not that there is anything wrong with medicine but imagine if he would have never written this book?

Everything in existence is a manifestation of the one living being we call God.

 

Now some of you might say that this book is a compilation of common sense but how common is our common sense? And, isn't it better to have this knowledge packed into a convenient beautiful book? This book is really mind-blowing. He talks about removing your old agreements you created as a child. Don Miguel Ruiz believes that we were domesticated as children to dream the same dream as society. He continues on saying that we picked up agreements, not by choice, but by modeling after those around us. We needed to fit in and therefore we needed to agree with the information that was passed down to us. We acquired labels such as good and bad and we started to believe in those labels.

As soon as we agree, we believe it, and this is called faith. To have faith is to believe unconditionally. 

 

We end up so domesticated that we continue the work inside of us. We, in turn, create our internal judge, someone who will continue the punishment and reward system taught to us since childhood by those around us. The judge criticizes everyone, no one escapes its blade.

Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies.

 

The good news is that we can break away from those old agreements but we will need a lot of courage and awareness in order to successfully do so. These are the 4 agreements that can help us in our journey of authenticity and love:

 

1. 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 gossip. Say nice things about people. If you want to hear nice things say nice things. We often feel powerless, as if our voice is only useful to talk. Talking is just a basic use of our voice. We can change laws and correct injustices when we speak up. We can make someone's day beautiful or ugly depending on what we say to them. Our Word is like magic and it can be used for good or evil. It is up to you to decide what you will use your Word for.

A good practice for me has been to write down my negative feelings before I take it out on those around me. If something is bothering me, I take a deep breath and sometimes a few days to reflect on it. If the feeling is still there, then I look for words and ways to express that in a loving way to the person I need to talk to. 

Impeccability of the Word can lead you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it can take away all fear and transform it into joy and love.

 

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.

I am guilty of this one... Basically if someone gives you a compliment, don't internalize it, even if it's a good one. If they say that you are beautiful, awesome and/or amazing, you should already know that about yourself and not let their words impact you. Whatever they say is what they feel at that moment.

I'm used to hearing the comment that I have an accent. I used to take this comment very harshly and punish myself for not being able to speak like an American. However, I'm slowly realizing that my accent is my signature. I just have to be mindful of how I am saying the words. I just need to speak louder and slower, that's it. So, if someone comes to me and tries to make me feel bad about my accent, I don't react anymore because I don't internalize their comments. Some people have said that my accent is sexy and even then I don't take this comment personally. I shot a video about this back in 2013.

Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don't need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally

 

3. Don't make assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others a clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Just because you do something nice for someone, it doesn't mean that they have to return the favor. Don't have expectations and you'll be happier. A lot of couples end up separating because of their different expectations for the relationship. Sometimes we think that because someone loves us they need to know what we need from them. It's as if we want them to know us more than we know ourselves. Do we even know ourselves 100%?

We just have to be nice to ourselves and to our partners. The way to solve this problem is to communicate your needs in a non-threatening way to your partner and have a relaxed conversation. Don't worry about solving the problem in one day, it'll never happen. Just start the conversation. Asking questions is the key to a healthy and loving relationship with yourself and others. 

We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make.

 

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.

Hate your job? Hate babysitting for your friend or family member? Hate cleaning? You can say no to these things but if you said yes, put your all into it. A lot of people feel like they hate their jobs because they are only thinking about the rewards and what the job can bring to them. I have found that it feels much better when I perform the task at hand thinking about the value I can provide to it and being excited about the end result. I feel good about putting out a good effort and sometimes I even enjoy the task I dreaded in the first place. I've noticed that I get rewarded by doing my best even though I was not seeking rewards. 

When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you're expecting a reward.

 

Practicing the four agreements is not an easy task but it is necessary to live a more fulfilled life. If you feel like you broke one or more of the agreements, no one is judging you, just go back and keep trying. This is not a game. The winner is the person who keeps going even after falling. 

The book is short and engaging. I recommend this book to all of my friends. It is actually in my top 3 books of all time. Give it a try and let me know which agreement resonates the most with you and why. 

Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment.

 

With Love, Dania