Ruiz’s Book Has Gotten Me Thinking About Fear

“The agreements [that we make with ourselves] that come from fear require us to expend a lot of energy, but the agreements that come from love help us to conserve energy and even gain extra energy.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz, THE FOUR AGREEMENTS

This quote was like a cold splash of water waking me up.

Many of my career moves have been based on fear: “I’ll fail if I don’t take on this extra work”; or “I won’t have enough money to survive after I retire if I don’t open this IRA”; or, if I go way back in time, back to my anxious high school and college years, “I won’t get into a good school if I don’t get a good SAT/GRE score.” These fearful thoughts have driven me to be the responsible adult I am today. Good thing? Or bad thing?

Don Miguel Ruiz's book based on Toltec wisdom.

Don Miguel Ruiz’s book based on Toltec wisdom.

Even though I enjoy what I do for work, there is a certain amount of fear that drives me to keep working. When I was in school, I am not sure I would have cared to read John Milton’s Paradise Lost were it not for fear of failure. Am I alone in this? Did my fellow English majors actually love Paradise Lost?

In our achievement-focused culture, I think it is quite common for people’s beliefs, goals, and decisions to arise from fear. Even big decisions. How many people have gotten married despite intense reservations, purchased homes they will pay double the price for over time, or taken a job they know they will dislike because of the amount of zeros at the end of the agreed-upon salary? Ruiz’s point, I think, is that if people focused on the four agreements, they would naturally eschew these wrong left turns in favor of the right ones for them.

More often than I would like to admit, my own words, beliefs, and actions stem from that little voice that whispers, If you don’t do this, people won’t respect you. But I think Ruiz’s point is this: Who cares if people don’t respect you? You have to respect and love yourself first, and then you will attract the right people into your life.

I agree with Ruiz in that I am not sure the fear-based thinking is worth our energy, but is a life without “agreements that come from fear” (Ruiz) possible? In attempting to be mindful, I suppose I am moving toward a life where my beliefs and actions are based on love rather than fear. Ruiz’s agreements have helped me. They are simple, but very good to keep in mind:

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

Amen. In order to really understand and appreciate the four agreements, buy the book: Purchase THE FOUR AGREEMENTS on Amazon

I promise, if you are human, it will be worth the read.

Questions for readers: What agreements have you made with yourself out of fear? Out of love? is it possible to totally avoid fear-based beliefs?


8 thoughts on “Ruiz’s Book Has Gotten Me Thinking About Fear

  1. A great question we have been struggling with for centuries. It seems to be the very essential question on the human condition: to be bound or to be free. We are forced or choose to live with fear yearning to love and to be loved, or we live loving and being loved fearing losing the love we have. I guess many of us are somewhere in between. But the choice between living under the influence of conditional fear or unconditional love requires certain sacrifices.

    In my opinion, given the courage to endure the cost, love is always within our reach. But then, since we are human, we may have a tendency to fear potential loss of what we have and end up living with fear again in a gray zone. This conundrum has been fiercely questioned by sages, and I think we all are in the pursuit of an answer. My answer so far is that with less desire we may fear less and love more. On the other hand, without experiencing what fear is like we may not appreciate what love is. Fear may strengthen the value of love. By being mindful of what we do here and now, we may be able to cultivate a loving heart that can stop fear though.

    • “My answer so far is that with less desire we may fear less and love more.”

      -Thank you for this quote. I think I have been struggling to put this exact thought into words for days! 🙂 Thanks for your insightful comments as well. I think anyone who is struggling to overcome fear and replace it with love is moving to a better place. The key is not letting the fear take over again. Tough to do, but mindfulness helps.

  2. Four Agreements is one of my favorite books. It is filled with wisdom. I love it. Don Manuel Ruiz is a great author. He has a book entitled The Fifth Agreement . Did you see that yet?

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