We will wrap up this series on the Four Agreements, by exploring growth through awareness and forgiveness. In this final episode covering “the four agreements” we’ll be looking at the last two chapters of the book and selecting passages that can help point us towards the life of putting our new agreements into practice. I won’t be covering every part and encourage you to read the book yourself. If you have any questions, please feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the website
The first agreement: Be Impeccable with Your Word, is an acknowledgment of how our intent guides the creation of our personal stories or narratives to funnel our potential into greater or, all too often, lesser potential versions of ourselves.
The second agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally, established for us how every story we have about ourselves and others, and therefore vice versa, is a means of cutting out parts of the whole of reality to make a coherent vision, supporting our desire to be right. Therefore, while we live within an interpenetrative reality of relationships, it is up to us as to whether we will accept the limitations imposed on us by others or by ourselves.
The third agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions, builds from the second, asking us to live more humbly, to engage more frequently in real generative dialogue with the purpose of understanding another’s perspective. Our desire to be right and our story creation process of selecting parts but not the whole of reality, leaves us forever at the mercy of further inquiry, whether we individually pursue it or not.
The fourth agreement: Part 1 Always Do Your Best, brought home the previous three into the lived reality of being caught up in shame and guilt and self-judgment, where our best is living the present, not being ashamed by connections to the past and not feeling guilty over not achieving the projections of the future.
Freedom – Awareness and Forgiveness
What is the freedom you are looking for? The freedom to be yourself? Do you know who that is? When you look at your life you will often find that many things you do are to please others, to be accepted by others, and you may not know what pleases you. We have been domesticated and many of us don’t know it. We live our lives ruled by the “Judge” and the “Victim” and never know it.
The first step to freedom is awareness. We have to become aware of the internal chatter that tells us “don’t do that, they may not like it”, or “if I do this, they won’t like me”. This internal self-talk squashes new ideas before you even have a chance to begin.
Awareness, the Path to Transformation
Transformation requires awareness of the unconscious agreements (narratives, judgments, and habits of behavior) that determine how we interact with experiences in our lives and focus our attention on the agreements that are no longer useful so that we can actively move forward to change them.
Negative agreements, such as “I’m not good enough, I’m not intelligent enough, “I’ll never get it right”, or “I don’t know how”, function like addictions. They work hard to stay the same. They tell us to not even try. To make changes to these agrrements we need the same or more power than we used to create them. Their power comes from the number of times we have repeated them. Embracing the “Four Agreements” as your own will require awareness and repetition. Practicing the four agreements is how your best becomes better. Repetition makes you the master of your agreements.
Healing starts with forgiveness, treating yourself with compassion. Let go of your resentment and self-judgment. Declare, “Enough! I am done with this self-abuse.” Forgive yourself for your past actions, and as necessary forgive your parents, siblings, and others you judge as having wronged you. Forgiveness is the key to your freedom, every judgment, resentment, and condemnation you hold is a tie that binds you. Every place you feel shame or guilt binds you. Forgiveness is the path to self-acceptance and self-love. When you accept yourself as you are, you are free.
References and Further Reading:
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett