Have you ever read a book that is so good, it totally changed your life? I was first introduced to this book by my coach, Maggie Reyes, when I was initially working with her for the first six to eight months to work on my marriage. The book that I'm talking about is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
I read this book for the first time probably five years ago now. I recently was inspired to reread it. It's all about how, if we could live by these four agreements that he has set out our lives would be free of a lot of the suffering that we live with now.
So, if you're yearning for change, tune in, and together, let’s walk on the path of The Four Agreements.
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"Don't expect that you will always be able to be impeccable with your word. Your routine habits are too strong and firmly rooted in your mind. But you can do your best."
What you'll learn in this episode:
The four key principles outlined in Don Miguel Ruiz's transformative book
How societal conditioning often clouds our perceptions and beliefs
The importance of not taking anything personally to avoid emotional distress
How to find your own unique voice and gain the courage to ask for what you truly want
"Becoming aware of our habits and routines is the first step. Hearing it on this podcast may be your first step."
Mentioned in this episode:
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The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
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Read the full episode transcript
Hey, this is Melissa Parsons, and you are listening to the, Your Favorite You podcast. I'm a certified life coach with an advanced certification in deep dive coaching. The purpose of this podcast is to help brilliant women like you with beautiful brains, create the life you've been dreaming of with intention.
My goal is to help you find your favorite version of you by teaching you how to treat yourself as your own best friend. If this sounds incredible to you and you want practical tips on changing up how you treat yourself, then you're in the right place. Just so you know, I'm a huge fan of using all of the words available to me in the English language, so please proceed with caution if young ears are around.
Hey there, welcome back to Your Favorite You. Today, I'm excited to be talking about one of the books that has changed the way that I view life. I was first introduced to this book by my coach, Maggie Reyes. When I was initially working with her for the first.
Six to eight months to work on my marriage because she is such an amazing relationship coach. She could see that I was not living by this book, and she knew that it would help me. So, I read this book back probably five years ago now and have noticed that whenever I am upset about something or just kind of in a funk or not really enjoying my life, not really feeling free in my life.
That I am not living by this book. So, the book is called the four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. He's Don Miguel Ruiz Sr. And here is some information that I found from his website. Don Miguel Ruiz was born in rural Mexico to parents who were healers and practitioners of ancient Toltec traditions.
As a young adult, he graduated from medical school in Mexico City and practiced neurosurgery with his older brother in Tijuana, a near fatal car crash forever changed the direction of his life. However, causing him to leave medicine and to examine the essential truth about life and humanity with his mother's help and through her ancestral teachings, he discovered his own path to awareness.
Which evolved into a deep understanding of the physical universe and the virtual world of the mind combining Toltec mythology and scientific perspectives, Don Miguel has been able to merge ancient wisdom with modern physics and practical common sense, forging a new philosophy for seekers of truth and personal authenticity.
I think you can see why I like this book. So, in his bestselling book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel talks about how we could live by these four agreements that he has set out. That our lives would be free of a lot of the suffering that we live with now, in the beginning of the book, he talks about how it's interesting because it's similar to the power of now, which I just talked about a couple of podcasts ago, the book that I just read by Eckhart Tolle.
Both gentlemen talk about how much of our suffering in life comes from living our lives with our head in the past. So, thinking about and ruminating on the past or with our head in the future, so worrying about being anxious about the future. So like Eckhart, Don Miguel talks a lot about the power of living in the present.
He also talks about how we are conditioned, socialized, educated, he says indoctrinated to have agreements that many of us never really fully agree to. So, these agreements are our beliefs that we've gotten from our parents, from our teachers, from religious upbringing, from society in general. These are agreements that I have talked about before on the podcast, ones that caused me and my clients lots of suffering.
So, things like, our life success is measured by our achievements or things like our goal in life is to do for others and make other people happy at our own expense. Another agreement is that we should not share our feelings that nobody wants to hear how you feel about that. You should keep it to yourself or the agreement that we should stay small so that other people can take up as much space as they need agreements.
Like, women should accept lesser pay for equal work. Women especially are taught that we should not speak up, that we should wait our turn, that we should think about how our needs affect everyone else. Things that we tacitly agree to, that we never would believe if we took the time to question them. In order to live by the four agreements that Don Miguel Ruiz lays out in his book, we must be willing to break some of these old agreements that we've either made for ourselves or have had made for us.
So just so you know, if you're wanting to live by these four agreements, what I would suggest is that you start trying to live by them and then figure out when you're not living by them and then question yourself and ask, okay, wait, which agreement that I have made or that was made for me is keeping me from being able to live one of these new four agreements that I want to live by.
I hope this makes sense. If it doesn't, please reach out to me and I'm going to, of course, explain it a little bit further as we go in the podcast. Bye. Bye. Bye. So, the first agreement that Don Miguel Ruiz says that we should live by is to quote, be impeccable with your word, unquote, agreement. Number one is to be impeccable with your word.
Now, when I first read this, my thought was, oh, he means you do what you say you're going to do every time. And that's what it means to be impeccable. Actually, it turns out that what he really means by this is that, yes, you're going to say what you're going to do, and you're going to do what you said you were going to do.
And it also means that the way you speak to and about yourself must also be impeccable. We are the only animals on the entire earth who use words and our words matter. The way we use them toward ourselves and toward others can either bring about more love in the world or more suffering. It really matters how you're talking to yourself about yourself.
So, if you're putting yourself down, if you're making self-deprecating jokes, if you're chastising yourself for not getting everything on your schedule done or for being less than perfect, you know the type of thing I'm talking about. That is not being impeccable with your word. Don Miguel also talks about how the words that we use to, and about other people really matter too.
He specifically talks about gossiping. Although gossiping is a way that humans connect with other people, it usually never leads to anyone feeling good in their life. It can feel good in the moment, being able to tell somebody something about someone else that you know before they do, but it's never something that leads to any lasting peace or happiness in your life if you're the one gossiping, and certainly if others are gossiping about you, that usually doesn't feel too good either.
He really delves into using our words impeccably with our children. The words that we offer to our kids about themselves become their beliefs about themselves. So, when we try to make our kids wrong for being who they are, we are creating the belief that they have to be different in order to be loved by us.
None of us, I would hope, does this intentionally. I know for sure I did this with both the kids. With Jack, his personality is so different than mine. In that he does not enjoy being the center of attention at all. When he was younger, I couldn't understand his anxiety because I don't typically have social anxiety.
I wanted him to be more like me simply so that I could understand him better. It turns out that he is never going to be like me and that he's become very successful being exactly him. I know that I gave him the message that he needed to change, to be understood by me, to be more accepted by me. And thankfully I've recognized this and told him now that I made a mistake in wanting him to be anything other than his amazing self.
I did the same thing in the opposite way with Owen. He had zero social anxiety when he was younger and he did not give any fucks about when other people We're watching us, what they thought about him, any of that. So of course, this led to many public displays when he did not care what I thought about his behavior, and he certainly did not care what anyone else thought about our family.
I was so afraid of being seen by another family that I took care of myself as a pediatrician because I was worried what they would think if they saw me out in public having zero clue what to do as Owen's mom. I was violating several of the four agreements in this scenario, but I digress. It turns out Owen did not need to be any different than he was either, as his attitude of not taking other people's opinions of him to heart has actually served him quite well growing up and as a young adult.
The bottom line here is to try to be as impeccable as you can with the words that you use to and about your children. The second agreement is probably the I find hardest to live by. It is, quote, don't take anything personally, unquote, so don't take anything personally. I coach on this a lot. What other people do usually have nothing to do with you, what other people do and think has to do only with them, what they are thinking about themselves, wanting for themselves and that type of thing.
Interestingly, most of us take pretty much everything that other people say about us regarding us as personal. And Don Miguel really talks about how this is just not the case. If you stop taking what other people say about you personally, if you stop believing what other people say about you, then your life will be completely different than it is right now.
Like I said, I still have a hard time with this one. I think it's because when we were kids, we were socialized to think that we could hurt other people's feelings. That what we said and did have to be so carefully monitored so as not to upset other people. I know I did this when the kids were younger. I said things like, you're making mommy upset or please don't do this or that.
It's going to make dad mad or something like that. I know for sure I'm guilty of this and I know most other parents are also guilty of this. Don Miguel says, quote, when you take things personally. Then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts. You make something big out of something so little because you have the need to be right and make everyone else wrong.
Unquote. Oof. That's a tough one. It's interesting because most of us would think about this in a negative sense. Like don't take it personally when someone says something negative about you. He is admonishing this, but he's also saying that you should not take it personally when someone says something positive about you.
Think about how much we do on a daily basis to get that external validation from someone else. If you make this agreement, you no longer need to seek that external validation because you can't take the amazing things people are saying about you personally either. You have to start seeking validation only from yourself.
If you're living by the first agreement and are impeccable with the words that you use about yourself, think about how much easier that would be. Okay, the third agreement is quote, don't make assumptions, unquote, don't make assumptions. So here, Don Miguel talks about how it's so much better to ask clarifying questions to ask for and to give clear communication so that people don't need to make assumptions.
You can tell others exactly what you're thinking and ask them exactly what they mean. I do this all the time now, where I say to John or one of the boys, but mostly John, I heard you say X and I am making it mean Y. Is that what you meant? And to be honest, most of the time I'm way off and asking the question helps me get clarification.
I don't have to get upset. I don't have to go around thinking and assuming that what other people are doing is because of me, or, you know, that what I have done has upset other people. I don't need to assume. I can ask the question and get my answer. Don Miguel says that, and I quote, all the sadness and drama you have lived in your life was rooted in making assumptions and taking things personally, unquote.
He goes on to say, quote, making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems. Often, we make the assumption that our partners know what we think and that we don't have to say what we want. We assume they are going to do what we want because they know us so well. If they don't do what we assume they should do, we feel so hurt and say you should have known.
So much drama and suffering could be avoided if we were simply willing to ask questions instead of making any assumptions. In this agreement, he also emphasizes the importance of finding your own voice and asking for what you want. Don Miguel acknowledges that none of these agreements, though they sound easy enough, none of them are easy to do, at least at first.
These are hard to follow because most of us are doing exactly the opposite of each of these first three agreements. Most of us have habits and routines that we're simply not aware of. So, becoming aware of our habits and routines is the first step. Hearing it on this podcast may be your first step. In order to change and to find personal freedom, you actually have to take action to change these habits and routines.
This is where the power of coaching can be so beneficial. A great coach will help you become aware of the way that your brain works. She will help you see the other agreements you might have been socialized to make along the way and will keep pointing you back to what you say you want in your life.
Consciously deciding to change and to take actions that are different from your old habits and routines while getting help from a coach who always sees you as your favorite version of yourself can be quite beneficial. Especially when you fall back into your old habits and routines as your coach, I can gently point this out to you and help you decide if you want to go forward, or if you are content to stay the way things have always been.
The 4th agreement is about the action of the first 3 agreements. It's what allows you to keep practicing the first three agreements as you let go of some of the other agreements you've been socialized to make. The fourth agreement is to quote, always do your best, unquote, always do your best. So, with the first, second and third agreements to always do your best, this means that your best will be different.
On different days, different from moment to moment, some days you will be fully rested and have energy and you'll be able to keep these agreements without much trouble at all. In some days you will be overtired, or you'll be ill and your ability to keep these agreements will not be as sharp and you can just know, okay, wait, I'm always doing my best.
And if you're always doing your best, we can know that when other people in our lives aren't living by these four agreements. They're probably doing their best too, and many of them have never even heard of the four agreements. So, they're out there not being impeccable with their word. They're out there thinking that everything that everyone else does is about them and taking it personally.
They're out there making assumptions left and right, and we don't have to hold that against anyone. We can just recognize that they are likely also doing their very best. Don Miguel says in the book, quote, the first three agreements will only work if you do your best and don't expect that you will always be able to be impeccable with your word.
Your routine habits are too strong and firmly rooted in your mind, but you can do your best. Don't expect that you will never take anything personally. Just do your best. Don't expect that you will never make another assumption, but you can certainly do your best. Unquote. The beauty of your best changing from day to day will be that if you find yourself not following the four agreements, you can always try again the next day or even the next hour.
I hope that I have done my best in explaining how this book can change your life. If you take the action of living by these four agreements. And questioning any agreements you have made because of the way you were socialized, educated, or indoctrinated. Certainly, if you want my help doing this work as you become Your Favorite You and to help you live a life with far less suffering and with far more personal freedom, I would love to hear how I can help you on a consult.
I'm still offering one on one coaching and I will be offering another group cohort soon. So, keep an eye out for that. You can always email me at email@example.com to get started. I would love to hear from you. See you next week.
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