The Four Agreements: Toltec Wisdom for the Emotionally Wounded

Years ago, in a mystical new age bookstore, I stumbled upon a book and accompanying deck of cards called “The Four Agreements.” I remember my intrigue when I read the back cover and learned that there was a system of beliefs, delivered down from the Toltec culture, that boiled down to four, simple principles. I was also not naive enough to believe that practicing them would be easy, but I was compelled to learn more.

I bought the book, The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, and the deck of cards.

The book


Deck of cards

I’m revisiting the book and cards again, because as simplistic as the messages they contain may be, much like DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills, they work beautifully when applied wholeheartedly and consistently.

(I’ve learned that a fifth agreement has been revealed, but I am not yet familiar with it. I will read the book and report back, but for this post, we’ll focus on the four I am familiar with).

The Four Agreements are:

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.

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.

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.

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” (Ruiz, 1997).

Yesterday, during a personal challenge, all four of these agreements (that we consciously and voluntarily make with ourselves) came rushing back to memory.  The situation served as a reminder to brush up on these skills and to re-implement them into my daily life.
I can’t undo the past, but I can choose to move forward in integrity while practicing not only my DBT skills but also The Four Agreements.
Which of the agreements speaks to you? How do you think your relationships, career, and life can be transformed if you are willing and able to apply them?
Thanks for reading.
More Soon.


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