The Five Agreements (Episode 118)
We all have standards we live by that help us determine how to best navigate this life. In this episode, we discuss the Five Agreements created by father/son duo don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz.
Learn to respect your dreams as well as that of others.
Taken straight from the description, here is a bit about the Five Agreements:
In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz revealed how the process of our education, or "domestication," can make us forget the wisdom we were born with.
Throughout our lives, we make many agreements that go against ourselves and create needless suffering.
The Four Agreements help us to break these self-limiting agreements and replace them with agreements that bring us personal freedom, happiness, and love.
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In The Fifth Agreement, don Miguel Ruiz joins his son don Jose Ruiz to offer a fresh perspective on The Four Agreements, and a powerful new agreement for transforming our lives into our personal heaven.
The Fifth Agreement takes us to a deeper level of awareness of the power of the Self, and returns us to the authenticity we were born with. In this compelling sequel to the book that has changed the lives of millions of people around the world, we are reminded of the greatest gift we can give ourselves: the freedom to be who we really are.
“By practicing the Five Agreements, what you are really doing is respecting everything in creation.
You are respecting your dream; you are respecting everybody else’s dream. If you use these tools, your effort is really for everyone, because your joy, your happiness, your peace, and your heaven are contagious.
When you are happy, the people around you are happy too, and it inspires them to change their own world.”
Don Miguel Ruiz
The Five Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz, 2011
#1 Be Impeccable with Your Word
Speak with integrity and say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
Sometimes it really helps to just be quiet. Nathan shared about how he used to continuously think out loud. He had a fear that if he didn’t spit it out when it came to him, the thought would be gone immediately. Sometimes being impeccable with your word is not even speaking.
It can be just as important to hold back and create space – to process, to think through and formulate what you want to say. And, depending on your personality style, this is when you end up having some people who fill every empty space with words, while others struggle to get anything in edgewise. We go deep into this in the episode “7 Seconds That Will Change Your Life” – leaving space for the quiet may allow for a conversation or insight you may never had had otherwise.
In my own experience, I would have so many thoughts soaring around in my head it would be hard to navigate with clarity. When I started a “dump list” where I would write down all the things swirling around in my mind, it helped me to discern a bit more what was really important, and, in this example, what was worth actually saying out loud.
If you have a perspective or understanding that is more broad than someone else’s (or even if you think that’s the case), then it’s your job to navigate yourself appropriately around what they are saying. Sometimes they are coming at you from a world you’re not living in.
#2 Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
Meet people where they are. It may be they are an entirely different perspective or stage in life, and they may not be in the position to take or understand where you’re coming from at that moment.
Before we try to fix and to influence, we need to meet someone where they are. Get a feel for where someone else is – what is their ability to process this, to handle the emotions, or to understand?
When your intentions and goals are pointed in the same direction, you can manage the madness that comes along the way.
Some additional resources for you
- 7 Seconds will change your communication and connection (Episode 62)
- How to live without saying a word: A Lesson In Awareness (Episode 21)
- What Is Your Goal?
- What Is Your Family Vision?
- Safety, Deliberate Dialogue, and CIA Spies (Episode 88)
- Feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed out?
- What Do You Want This Life To Be? (Episode 16)
- Personality Styles 101
- It’s Not Always Either/Or – Remember the AND
Meet them where they are
Empathy is a powerful thing - and just touching on grief and how to navigate it, I recently watched this powerful video and shared it again on Facebook.
#3 - Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
If you're going to have any assumption at all, let it be this:
Assume You Don't Know
It's human nature - we make assumptions on what is safe or dangerous. It's how we survive. Just like in meditation, it's not about blocking out all thought and berating yourself if it comes. It's about letting the thought flow through and then letting go.
Judgements and assumptions will happen. Agendas will be created. Expectations will be there. But they don't always serve you well. Sometimes it's best to let them pass, and to be open to the possibility of something different.
Look at what thoughts come in as simply an observation; not the end-all-be-all. Let that thought go and see what happens.
Trying to avoid assumptions? Be Curious!
Think twice about touting the differences as your first step. There are more barriers to connection when you start with what divides you. Looking at where you don't connect can eliminate the opportunity to find a common ground. Like our CIA friend says, in order to get to know someone and find common ground, ask questions. Assess before you confess.
#4 Always Do Your Best
Doing your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are tired as opposed to well rested. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
Be clear on your assumptions and whether they are simply divisive and placing right/wrong blame on someone. What if we approach with a willingness to serve vs. place blame? What if we support vs. get defensive?
It's not going to be perfect all the time. As parents (and as humans), we do the best we can with what we know at the time. We have to make big decisions. It's hard to know what's right, when every family member is unique.
I'm a huge advocate for a growth mindset. I recently highlighted it again in a podcast episode recently. Nathan and I were talking about college debt, and talked about how it's much more than just finding the "right" path, but having the right mindset. When you have a growth mindset, it's not so much about whether a path is right or wrong, but what you've learned from it.
Instead of something being a failure or regret, we assess these questions:
- What does this make possible?
- What did I learn that I can utilize moving forward?
- How have I changed my responses/actions because of this?
So as you dream on what you want, and reflect on what you've done, keep these in mind. For everything you've done that just sucked, what did you learn from it? What doors did it open? How have you gained more clarity now that you've done this, helping you narrow down what you do/don't like?
#5 Be Skeptical, But Learn To Listen
Don’t believe yourself or anybody else unconditionally. Use the power of doubt to question everything you hear: Is it really the truth? Listen to the intent behind the words and you will understand the real message.
Have an open mind, and take things with a grain of salt. It doesn't have to be all or nothing, either/or.
Not just believing someone unconditionally - taking it with a grain of salt - allows grace for growth.
We may not have it ALL figured out, but we may have SOME of it.
You have a perspective now that can quickly change. When trauma happens, a whole paradigm can be shifted upside down. When things become personal, you view them differently. And flat out life experience will morph you as you grow.
Your Weekly Challenge:
Keep these five agreements in mind this week. Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. Be skeptical, but learn to listen.
Show some grace for a different perspective both in your home and beyond.
I am passionate that each of us has our own unique strengths that are important to share. You are powerful beyond measure. You make an impact. And so does everyone else in your family. The more you can understand that, know how to interconnect, and have grace, the more your family will thrive. Because ultimately, the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.
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