Over the years, I’ve gained a rather holistic approach to existence. I believe, as many others do, that everything in life is connected. My actions are connected to the outside world, and the outside world is connected to me. And yes, I believe in karma, like Justin Timberlake famously once said: “what comes around, goes around, comes back again.”
It may seem quite deep, and you didn’t sign up for a 101 on karma, but I’m mentioning all of this for a reason. Recently I read a book, and this book was so genuinely impactful on my life, I knew I needed to write about it.
The Four Agreements, penned by world renowned author and Toltec spiritualist Don Miguel Ruiz, is impactful right from the get go. Don draws from Toltec wisdom shared by the native Toltec people in the Mexico region for hundreds of years, which fuelled and sustained civilisation and society then, as it still does today.
Don breaks this wisdom up into four easy-to-read chapters. The great thing about this book, which has claimed its status as a bestseller worldwide, is that the lessons – or rather, wisdom – that Ruiz shares, is relevant to life today and easily translatable.
Once you’ve digested a chapter and put the book down, it stays with you. Let’s get into the gist of Ruiz’ four pillars to success:
Be impeccable with your word
This chapter is all about how the words you speak carry powerful meaning. Don encourages us to treat them that way. Be as impactful with your words as you can, whether it’s a regular conversation or an important address, speak with intention.
This doesn’t mean switching to guru mode and waxing lyrical. Understand that everything you say has meaning. If you speak negatively, that negativity comes to life. This agreement teaches us to be more mindful of what we say, and what we mean.
Often in life, we’ll dig ourselves deeper by saying things without really thinking. It’s natural. If we can be mindful in the moments where we do have the flexibility to speak with intent, why not?
Don’t take things personally
People do and say things because of themselves, not because of you. This agreement teaches us to always be mindful of that. If someone hurts you with their words, or actions, it’s really about them and where they are in that moment. This goes both ways, though.
When we receive positivity from others, don’t take that personally either. Don says that taking things personally creates unnecessary suffering. When you take something negative personally, you feel attacked and hurt. When you take something positive personally, you create expectations, and you feel like you need to be x all the time because you want people to say y about you.
Keep it neutral, and you wont be hurt by others’ projections.
Don’t make assumptions
If you’re unsure or uncertain, have the courage to ask questions, and take the time to find your answers.Often we assume things, and others make assumptions, because it seems ‘logical’ to them. But again, they’re just projecting themselves, and there are many more aspects to the truth.
Making assumptions fills us with confusion and misunderstanding, which Ruiz says is the root of all pain. Take the time to understand other people’s feelings, and be open to sharing to avoid miscommunication.
Doing this also empowers you not to judge or make assumptions about others, and gives you the courage and patience to look for answers.
Always do your best
Everyday your ‘best’ is going to be different. Whether it’s a high or a low, give whatever you can give in that moment.
Do your best, but don’t push yourself. Often, many of us are caught up in the loop of giving more, or less, of ourselves than we really can. Whether it’s work or a relationship, we need to stop pushing ourselves, but we still need to do our best.
Give what you can give in every moment, nothing less, nothing more.
Feature Image: Instagram / @sundayswithselina