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When people ask me which book has been helpful in my personal & professional life, I immediately recommend The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I have recommended it to my therapeutic clients who were battling addiction, depression, anxiety , re-entry from prison and self-improvement in general.
Instead of rattling off The Four Agreements, which could be re-written into a Pinterest graphic, I am deciding to take a different approach in reviewing this book.
Let’s look at how the lessons in this book can increase your confidence!
The Four Agreements:
- Be Impeccable With Your Word
- Don’t Take Anything Personally
- Don’t Make Assumptions
- Always Do Your Best
I won’t go into detail about each of these agreements because I truly want you to read this book. Ruiz beautifully, and simply, breaks down these basic tenets in a manner you can easily relate with.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
With these four words Ruiz describes the effects of toxic people in our lives. These “haters” use poison to weaken us. This poison will be in the form of trolling, bullying, being judgmental or nitpicking. He explains that when a hater spews poison we have a duty to decide whether to accept it or not. If we accept and internalize their poison (i.e. “You’re ugly) then we have carried that poison with us.
In building self-confidence I believe we need to operate with a shield around us. It’s similar to planting a garden. People place a border or wire around the garden to protect their budding seeds. When you don’t take things personally, your borders work. Your boundaries are consistent. It’s what Jay-Z talks about when he says “brush that dirt off your shoulders.”
According to Ruiz, “Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.” Click To Tweet
This agreement is like gold to me. I examine people much clearer now because of what this agreement taught me. When we realize that the haters in our life are really just acting off their own garbage, we’re liberated. I can clearly see that I need to keep my distance from them. They got their own junk to work on.
You know someone like this, don’t you??
The agreement that states “always do your best” is more than a simple pat on the back.
Ruiz states that “inaction is the way that we deny life.” Every action has a purpose.
Every action where you “focus on yourself” is self-care and is part of doing your best. This relates with mindfulness and building self-confidence.
I have chronic pain, in the form of fibromyalgia. Every day I have to ration out my energy based on how crappy I feel when I wake up. This explains why I’m not a morning person. Haha. If my pain or weakness is at a level 7/10 I have to be realistic about what “doing my best” will be. If I agree with myself that I can only go to work and put away the dishes then that’s about it.
That’s my best for the day.
Honestly, I still beat myself up when I’m limited during fibromyalgia flares. But imagine how my confidence would tank if I set myself up for disappointment by adding 4 more things to this list?
When my action list (or to-do list) is realistic and based off “doing my best”, I feel more relaxed, self-assured and less stressed at the end of my day. Although most of us have lists WAY longer than this, I have frequently wrote about trimming that list down.
Ask for help. Cut off some auto-pilot activities that you dread.
How can you do your best when you hate half the junk on your schedule?
In this book he shares how he has fallen in his life and used these agreements to pick himself up again.
“So if you fall, do not judge. No, be tough with yourself. Stand up and make the agreement again.”
Has your confidence fallen because of setbacks or failures? Your self-talk is what either makes you or breaks you during this time. You could be your harshest inner critic or your biggest fan. You choose.
When I first picked up this book I didn’t expect to be mind blown. I didn’t expect to read something that spoke to me in such a clear fashion.
If you are in the process of re-planting your seeds of confidence, I think your nourishment can be found in these agreements!!