The Focus On You

Self-Care Is A Lifestyle

Tag: boundaries (page 3 of 4)

Building Confidence Using The Four Agreements


This post contains affiliate links.

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:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. 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!!

Is Control Making You Too Rigid?

If you’re anything like me, you can justify the heck out of being in control. You have your stuff together, you can always rely on yourself and everything you start gets finished. I’ve always been a go-getter and extremely focused on my studies and career. It’s how I finished my Master’s Degree by age 24.

There are healthy forms of self-control like being disciplined, orderly and responsible. But as they say, everything needs to be in moderation.

Unhealthy levels of control can look like this:

  • Having an attitude with people who have NO self-control.
  • Being unable to delegate simple tasks at work or home because “I can do it better than anyone else.”
  • Being closed-minded about almost EVERYTHING!
  • Less likely to listen to advice, suggestions or feedback.
  • This leads to withdrawing from others. Why vent to others when they’re not going to have an answer or fix this for me?
  • Unable to find ways to relax or unwind. Some people refer to this as being wound “too tight.”



When you get sucked into this pattern, your thinking and your heart will become too rigid. Expectations rise to unrealistic levels. Imagine what this can do if you’re dating, in a marriage or living with roommates. What expectations have you placed on loved ones who don’t deserve your level of control? What can this do to your kids?

A person with rigid control patterns will end up isolating themselves, whether they like it or not. It’s like living behind castle walls. Everyone will stay away from your insufferable behavior and you won’t reach out anyways. It’s a lose-lose situation.

How do you loosen the grip?

Baby steps.

Slowly delegate a few tasks. Start saying no to a few tasks or activities. Maybe your control issue is mixed with a boundary problem. Are you saying yes to additional tasks because you feel “I’m the only one who can do it?” Get over yourself and leave it to someone else.

  • Use a journal to document all the things that you feel are “controlling” you. Consider it the opposite of a “to-do” list. Make a DON’T DO list. Call it the HELL NO list! My daily planner has a section on the monthly calendar page for items that I shouldn’t do.

Please monitor your rigidity. I have been there. It’s not a place that allows for self-care or peace of mind.

Open your mind, open your heart and soften up a little. Click To Tweet

You may be at risk of distancing yourself from the people who care about you the most.


If you want to begin journaling about control, please sign up for next month’s newsletter. I’ll be featuring journal ideas just for my subscribers! 

 Here are a few books you can purchase on Amazon to help you learn more about this topic! (affiliate links included)






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