I want to treat people the way I treat animals. Animals have always instinctively brought out in me feelings of love, comfort and trust. I connect immediately and feel at ease with animals. A book I read this year which made me think about my relationships with people was the four agreements a book written by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a wonderful book which I read and affected me profoundly. The four agreements are simple, true and fundamental to our behaviour. By accepting to follow the four agreements your taking a step towards being a better person and that’s the kind of thing I try to do now and again as a yoga teacher, friend and person.
The four agreements are (spoiler alert);
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
For every person, one or two of these will be more prevalent or even all four. For me taking things personally and making assumptions were what I knew I needed to particularly concentrate on. I’m a perfectionist, so always doing my best is something I hope I do even if my efforts are sometimes unrecognised even by me. I have a strong problem about lying, it really bothers me when people lie so that was something I always tried to stay on top of. Even if there are times when benevolent truthfulness goes a long way, the Ashtanga Yoga principle I wrote about here. Most of the time being truthful and just not talking shit is above and beyond important. Don’t say hurtful things, or unhelpful things or things that aren’t actually true, or say you’re going to do things which in reality you’re not. Right? But nobody’s perfect and for whatever reason we’re shaped by events making everyones struggles and faults different. Its what makes life interesting!
For me I had to constantly remind myself that I wasn’t going to take things personally or make assumptions. In all seriousness, when I started taking something personally I had to stop myself and acknowledge it. It’s very time consuming, but making yourself aware of what your doing instantly takes the power away from it. Life’s a lot simpler when your not bothering yourself with what other people are doing and why. They’re probably not saying or doing things to hurt you, but even if they are, reacting to it doesn’t help. Rise above and move on. The decision to take something personally is what causes grief…so don’t!
Making assumptions as a philosophy student, over thinker and woman I’m pretty good at making connections. Maybe I should have been a detective? I question things, link them and find the flaws. I do this with everything whether it’s important or not. Not making assumptions based on my thoughts was a struggle, one I still work on. If I make an assumption, I ask the question outright then take the answer as fact. Wondering whether your boss or friend or family member actually means something other than what they’re saying is pointless. If your really bothered just ask. It might be slightly intimidating as we live in a society of sugar coating things, but if it’s a genuine worry, ask the question and take the answer as truth. What’s the harm?
It’s a great book and one I’d recommend anyone reading. It got me thinking, making an agreement with myself, now that’s powerful. I’m committed to making a change in myself, with myself. Deciding you want to do things differently and then doing it could be the best gift you ever give yourself. There are a lot more than four agreements that I’d like to make with myself but I do think it’s a great starting point.
What agreement would you find most difficult?
Helen – WAP