Do I agree with this Agreement?

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz was a small book that was published in 1997.  It is considered a ‘wisdom book’ and describes Four Agreements and if you are able to incorporate these into your life, you will be changed for the better.  I struggle with one of them.  The book elaborates on the Four, but here they are:

1.  Be impeccable with your word (agree)

2.  Don’t take anything personally (???)

3.  Don’t make assumptions (agree)

4.  Always do your best (agree)

Ruiz really goes into great depth when speaking of these and I certainly don’t want to give him any disservice, but I have trouble with #2.  While I think that it is of great value to try to understand why people say and do what they do, sometimes it is important to take things ‘personally’ because there may be an invitation to change hidden in a comment or action. 

Often times comments are made that can cut like a knife and it may be as simple as someone having a bad day and being in a bad mood, or perhaps, I am having a ‘sensitive’ day.  But by completely dismissing words said, I  may be somewhat flippant.  The words may not injure me, but sometimes they should.  Sometimes I need that ‘wake-up’ call. 

Perhaps, for me, that Agreement should be:  Think about it, reflect on it, pray with it, and offer it to God.  Ask for his wisdom…allow him to heal, to teach and then let it go.  Sometimes we grow from the beautiful words of others, and sometimes we grow through the words that cause us pain – an arrow through the ego, so to speak.

16 thoughts on “Do I agree with this Agreement?

  1. Good point! I have read many of Ruiz’s books, including the Four Agreements.

    For me, I took #2 to mean that I would no longer let other people tell me how to live my life or that I should believe this way or that way.

    I also thought about children of toxic family relationships; perhaps a parent or sibling did a great job tearing this child’s self apart. I felt Ruiz was showing that what was said to effect this child in such a horrible way could be healed to some extent by retraining his/herself to follow these agreements….(sounds a little simple doesn’t it!)

    If I remember correctly, Ruiz referred to this as the Second Attention.

    As you can tell, I really liked the thought this book shared. I cann’t say that I have mastered them though 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Daily, I’m glad you offered your perspective. I like it, you are right people do great damage through their words, especially with children

  2. You know, I’ve read Ruiz’s book twice, and I always agreed with his take on the 4 agreements…until I came here, today. Andie, I think you make a very good point. I particularly like the reflect and pray suggestions. You are a wise woman, indeed!

    1. Oh, thank you Michelle. I think he makes a point, it is definately a protective device, but sometimes we need to hear the tough stuff. Praying always helps, doesn’t it?

  3. I have not read this book but Ican understand what you are saying.I try to apply the “Don’t take it personal principal”when dealing with my children and grands. I am not sure it means to dismiss what is said to you but only not let it hurt your spirit or cause you to react in an irrational way.

  4. If I think about #2, while I see your point, one of the things I have learned is that so little is really about ‘me.’ When I take things personally, I place myself center-stage and may skew the intent, the reason for whatever happened.

    I do like the way you rewrite the Agreement. Still, I do think that so often when I take things personally, I spend time churning, often spinning my wheels, a time which could be used on other things.

    Maybe it all has to do about how grounded one is.

    PS: I have never been able to read this book…

  5. Hi Andie,

    I agree with you. Our Lord has a lot to say about our speech in the bible and how it effects others. “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:3-5/ NKJV).

    Some things we shouldn’t take personally, while other things we should because it can spur us to change. Have a wonderful weekend.


  6. I think you are right. Problem with aphorisms is that it is easy to quote them and not think them through. That kind of thing happens a lot, especially among people with an agenda.

  7. Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think. ( can’t remember who said it)

    Yes, it’s number two that brings out the worst in all of us at times but also it is the leading edge of chaos that brings about necessary change.
    Blessings- Andie.

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