I love Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements. The message of his book is powerfully simple: don’t take things personally, be impeccable with you words, never make assumptions and always do your best.
Applying his four agreements in my life somehow gave me permission to be me and stop caring so much about what others thought. It also helped me be less hard on myself when I performed below my standards or expectations. “Oh well, I did the best I could,” I would tell myself. It was profoundly liberating.
But sometimes in life, what liberates you today becomes the very same thing that imprisons you later.
I remember this one time when a close friend spoke to me from his heart saying, “Gabs, you put out this image that you’re cool and confident by always having the perfect answer for everything. But to me, you’re just arrogant and insecure.”
Reacting with anger, I immediately started arguing with him to prove him wrong, ending the discussion with the sentence, “Well you know, I’m not gonna take what you said personally. It has nothing to do with me.”
Needless to say, my arrogance and insecurity ended up costing me not only that friendship but deprived me of connecting more authentically with others for many years.
By choosing not to take things personally, I was also protecting myself from the discomfort of receiving negative feedback from people who truly loved me and cared about me, about how I was coming across and being perceived.
In essence, I started using The Four Agreements – the same agreements that brought me freedom from others – as an excuse to not grow and take full responsibility for my choices, attitudes, and behaviors. Which is why these days I often tell myself and my clients to go beyond The Four Agreements by practicing the four agreements I share in this week’s episode of The Heart Intelligent.