“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?
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?
- The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz. (positive-thoughts.typepad.com)
- The Four Agreements – A Path to a Peaceful, Fulfilling Life (wakingtimes.com)
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (okdork.com)
- Don Miguel Ruiz, ‘The Four Agreements’ Author, Says You Can Eliminate Drama By Not Making Assumptions (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)