I spent time today talking with a dear friend, a sister in spirit if you will, who recently broke her ankle. After bringing her breakfast, which was subsequently eaten by both of our kiddos, we got to talking about praying and how we need to do more of it to attract the things we want. We spoke about being frustrated with jobs, social relationships, the diseases and illnesses that are just unfair, etc., and something she said hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m paraphrasing here, but she said to me,
“Shouldn’t we assume that people have positive intent?”
It occurred to me in that instant. In ALL of the changes that I have been making mentally and physically, in all of the relationships that have ebbed and flowed over the past couple of years that have caused I thought have caused me pain, have been because I forgot to remember that most people are inherently good.
I was assuming, based on words or behaviors of those around me, that I was not worthy of being nurtured as a friend. I basically lost my faith in my ability to even be a good friend, and therefore, lost my faith in the excitement of new people.
This led me to a philosophy my mother and I have talked about for years, that I manage over and over again to forget.
The Four Agreements is a book written by Miguel Ruiz that takes folks on their journey towards true personal freedom. It explores
“..self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering”
One of the keys to personal love is to follow these four simple rules in all moments of your life. It will help avoid at least some of the “triggers” that inspire the downward spiral of thoughts and emotional suffering.
Be Impeccable With Your Word
For lack of a better explanation, we must speak with integrity. This means avoiding gossip, or negative self talk. It also involves building others up, which will in turn provide you with the language and tools to build yourself in the same manner.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
DING DING DING. If I had a freaking magic button that could help me grip onto this notion, there is no limit to the price I would pay for it. This is where in the above conversation, I realized that I had totally failed. Not only had I chosen to take almost EVERYTHING personally from some people, I have also been taking things my children have said/done personally as well. And digging further, taking my SELF talk as truth. (What a mess) My personal key to emotional freedom is making THIS agreement priority in the practice.
Don’t Make Assumptions
If you do not understand something or someone, be it their behavior, words, actions, heart, mind, anything, ASK THEM. To avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings that don’t serve us, it is imperative that we feel brave enough to communicate in the first place. In order to not be the victim of suffering in your own mind, open your words and your heart to rid it of sadness and drama. After all, imagination is usually worse than the reality.
Always Do Your Best
My take on this agreement is that if we go forth in our day to do the best we can with all things, than any judgements coming from others or yourself are utterly unnecessary. This will vary from day to day of course, but we must remind ourselves that we are only playing with the hand we are dealt, and all we can do is face it one day at a time the best we can. Be proud of yourself, and know that we are all walking our paths.
It was in the realization that I had spent so much time not speaking with integrity, taking everything personally, not communicating effectively that allows me to understand my perceptions, that I honestly was not living my best life.
Dovetailing on Annie’s summer reading list from yesterday, The Four Agreements is my first choice read to finding a path that supports emotional freedom. Having something everyday to remind me of these four agreements can help me, you, anyone, live a life constructed around that liberation.
Challenge yourself everyday with honoring these four. Set reminders, put up post its or wall art, wear empowering jewelry. Hell, get a tattoo if you want! Let’s choose to live a life lifted by empowerment of self and others.
Will you join me?