By awakening to life I also started realizing how much my thoughts were impacting my behaviour, my self-esteem and my global well-being. Yoga became a way to deal with it and brought me strength and calm as well as space. But still my thoughts were here. Suddenly making me feel down, keeping me away from being and enjoying the day. I was imagining dark scenarios, blaming myself constantly and spending time talking negatively. It’s a vicious circle and I could feel that it was deeply impacting me. At that time, I was feeling very lonely, lost and I didn’t know what to do to feel better. So, I just kept on doing something I loved. Reading. But instead of reading the same old kind of book I started to look at those self-development section. I wasn’t convinced by all the books. But books had always been a safe place for me, could they also be a way to enlighten my life?
While reading blogs about how to feel better and keeping on stumbling on the same advices, useful but not enough for how I felt like I ended up discovering a text, or short book. The Four Agreements: a practical guide to personal freedom. A very simple text to help us going through life in the happiest way. There is more in this book than the four main ideas I will share with you and it’s worth reading it but those four statements are the roots of this philosophy.
These 4 ideas are agreements you have with yourself. Nobody has anything to see with it. It comes from the idea that the only thing you can impact on is yourself. And you can agree with yourself to respect those agreement for your own good, it will also impact the people who surrounds you.
BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS
It starts with being impeccable with your words. Words do have a huge impact on our mental health and happiness. Words that you hear, yes, but you don’t have control on those (though, you’ll see later that you can still chose the way you take them) but also words that you say. They create what is reality for you, what is important. They might not be physically present but they are as important as what you do, what you surround yourself with. So, this statement implies you should mean what you say, and you should speak with integrity. Avoid gossiping or talking about yourself in a negative way. Words are powerful and this power should be used towards love and truth.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
The second agreement you make with yourself is not taking anything personally. Nothing people do or say is because of you. What they say or do is linked to their reality, the way they look at things. By choosing not to get affected by their words or acts you’re avoiding being the victim of needless suffering. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to people, and not consider what they say. I analyse it as choosing the way to take what is said to me. It comes with the idea that other’s people actions tell more about them than about you. It is a good way not to be impacted by negativity, and to avoid pain and sadness that shouldn’t be weighing on your shoulders.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
The following agreement is about not making assumptions. Often in life our arguments, pains or sadness come from a lack of communication. By expressing our needs clearly or asking questions we avoid most of these miscommunications. Communicating is the only way to avoid misunderstandings that lead to drama and sadness. This agreement can be applied by changing your behaviour but also your thoughts. Keep it in your mind every time you build the craziest assumptions in your head. Those dark ideas will most of the time not happen. And they are taking your energy for nothing, or worse risk to lead you to negativity! This agreement alone can transform your life.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Last but not least, always do your best. What you call your best will be different every day, or even every hour. But whatever are the circumstances try to do what is your best at that exact moment. Avoid self-judgement and regret, by doing your best and by knowing you are. Acknowledge that your performances are not going to be always the same, but keep in mind to always try. Every new second is an opportunity to do your best. To apply those agreements. You’ll fail, you’ll succeed, but you’ll know that you have done the best you could. And it changes everything.
As you saw, these agreements are simple, basic even. But they were very helpful for me, and still are. They helped me on a behaviour level but also with my thoughts and words. The full text gives more explanations and directions and is a real solace for me. It is a kind of mantra I repeat during my morning yoga session. Something to hang on when I’m feeling an emotional storm or overwhelmed. It’s a contract I have with myself. Because I deserve peace and happiness. So, do you.