By: Maggie Manfredi, Guest Blogger
Before I go too deep into this book “review” I have to make a confession, I have not read this book front to back. I have skimmed it, read passages, and discussed it with my mother and her mother. I apologize if this makes me a completely non credible source, but this isn’t a dissertation so I hope you will read on. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz is a wisdom book about finding your path to “grace, peace, and unconditional love.”
Before you go running for the hills, this isn’t your average self-help book. The book, though rooted in Toltec wisdom, is not hard to follow; however I wanted to sort of translate it for the every girl. So here is my take on the four agreements:
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word: Our words our powerful. We can persuade, mend, hurt, and love with words. My biggest personal struggle with my word is gossip. Whether I am in the workplace or out with friends the “g word” always seems to sneak in. I think it comes from habit, boredom and jealousy, none of which are positive. Ruiz says it is about moving towards truth and love, and gossip brings about neither. I think in order to carve your path to personal freedom you must be honest with yourself and others. Don’t belittle or be resentful toward others and try hard to never put yourself down.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: I spend a decent portion of my day scrolling through feeds of other people’s pictures and posts. This person got their dream job, or this girl just found the person of her dreams. I get caught up in it all, and sometimes it brings me down. Ruiz’s mantra, “Nothing others do is because of you.” Say that a couple times and it really sinks in. Why does it matter how many likes I get on my Instagram picture? It shouldn’t matter, and it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are happy and healthy and that YOU like the picture that you posted. We open ourselves up daily to the opinions of others, but by not taking them personally you hold the power in your own life. You make room for serenity.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions: I started my new job and was absolutely terrified to ask for help. I hated it, even though of course you will have questions and most likely your boss is more than willing to help out. This agreement is basically “Brave” by Sara Bareilles if you want to put it to music. Be concise and confront when necessary. There is no need for unnecessary drama or conflict when you can talk things through.
4. Always Do Your Best: Ruiz makes a point to drive the notion that your best is not always the same. We all have our highs and lows, some days you feel crappy and tired and slow. But your best can be attained by attempting the little things: Making it to the gym after a long work day, calling a loved one you’ve been out of touch with for awhile, heading to work a little early to get a jumpstart. These are all moves that pull you away from those dark places we all have within ourselves: pity, judgment and doubt. Nobody is perfect and you have to be prepared for a flawed day. Be kind and fair to those around you and keep in mind that tomorrow is always another shot at doing the little things well.
So full disclosure, these things are a constant battle for me and I have yet to have a perfect all four agreements met day. When I feel lost or angry or betrayed I like to turn to these ideals. It helps and can really bring you bliss in a time when you might be unsure of yourself. My unsolicited advice (and also my mother’s to me and her mother’s to her), start working on your personal freedom today.
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Maggie is a nearly with-it working girl and proud owner of a B.A. in Communication. She spends her free time on the phone with one of her three crazy sisters or reviewing some form of entertainment news. Her hobbies do not include competitive dog grooming, CrossFit or puzzles (she is lousy at puzzles).