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4 Agreements That Will Change Your Life

4 Agreements That Will Change Your Life

Are you interested in changing your life? Are you craving more love and happiness? Well, there’s a ton of advice out there on how to make that happen. There is one book, though, that really hit home for me, and I want to share what I’ve learned with the hopes of spreading the love and happiness to more people around the world. The following agreements are based on the brilliant and inspiring book The Four Agreements, written by Don Miguel Ruiz. The idea is that if you commit to these four specific agreements, you will change your life and be a happier, more loving human being.

I have been doing my best to follow these agreements, and I can definitely say it’s working.The message in this book helped me reach a higher consciousness and bring more love and happiness into my life — I think it can do the same for you.

So without further ado, if you are ready to change your life and bring more love and happiness your way, repeat after me:

1. I am impeccable with my word.

impeccableword

    Gossip. Trash-talk. Slander. Chitchat. Rumors. Scuttlebutt. (Yes, that’s a real word!) You know what I’m talking about. If you’ve been through middle school, chances are you’ve been both a participant in and a victim of gossip. I’m willing to bet that almost everyone has spoken poorly about someone else at some point in their lives. If you work in an office setting, you can be sure it’s filled with whispers about co-workers. Here’s the thing: Even if you think you’ve never said a negative thing about someone else, it’s likely true that you’ve said a nasty thing about yourself. And that’s just as bad.

    Occasionally, thoughts pop into our minds that we don’t control. (We can work on that, but that’s for another article.) Thinking something, though, is truly different from saying it aloud. Committing a thought to word brings the thought to life. It makes it alive and real. When you use your words to speak poorly about someone else, including yourself, you are bringing negativity into the world. That’s not cool. You don’t want to be responsible for that, do you?

    Eliminate this kind of behavior immediately, and you will be on your way to transforming yourself into a happier, healthier, and more loving person. No more talking poorly about others or yourself! From now on, only speak about people as if they are standing right next to you. If you wouldn’t say it in front of them, then don’t say it at all.

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    Repeat after me.

    I am impeccable with my word.

    2. I do not take things personally.

    Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 1.29.11 PM

      The things people say and do are direct projections of who they are, what they have experienced, what they believe, who they associate with, where they grew up, and so forth. Everyone has a unique way of looking at the world, and no two people see things the same exact way. Nope. That’s simply impossible.

      When people say and do things, they are doing so directly through their view of the world. This is the one and only way people can! This means that nothing anyone ever does or says is personal to anyone but themselves. It simply can’t be. You may be married to your best friend of 40 years and think you know every single thing about this person, but he/she still sees the world in his/her own unique way. There’s just no way around it. But this is a great thing! No matter what is going on in other people’s lives, what they say, what they do, how they act, you can bet that is has nothing to do with you and you don’t have to be hurt by their actions or words.

      Of course, when we think about not taking things personally, we usually associate this with negativity. But the same is true for positive things. Even when people say they love you, it’s still not personal to you. I do not mean they do not love you; they probably do! But even those words, directed at you, are being used to describe a feeling that was created within their world. Maybe you really rocked their world, and now they feel love. That’s wonderful! But, alas, it’s still not personal. Reel it in and feel the positive energy bouncing off each other as you share love, but remember: If one day it changes and they take their love away, that’s not personal either.

      No more taking things personally! Go on, now, say it.

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      I do not take things personally.  

      3. I do not make assumptions.

      noassume

        We all know that silly saying that goes with the word assume. You make an as — yeah, you know, that one. Also, this is important: Never assume the worst-case scenario in an unknown situation. If you don’t know the truth about something, assuming the worst is a one-way ticket to unhappiness.

        These both hold true, yes, but it doesn’t stop there. I want to delve even further into making assumptions. I want to talk about not making assumptions at all.

        Firstly, never assume you know and understand what people are saying all the time. Communication between people can be really tricky. Words can confuse things. If you are even the slightest bit unsure about what someone means, conjure up the courage to ask questions until you are confident you have a good understanding of their words. Positive or negative. It doesn’t matter. Always ask questions until you are certain you know what’s going on.

        Secondly, never assume people just know what you mean. How often do you hear “you know” when talking with someone? I know I say it all the time. But even if the person I am talking to responds with “oh, yeah!” that doesn’t necessarily mean we are on the same page. Be sure to communicate with people as clearly as you can. Do not assume they already know what you want or need. The best way to avoid misunderstandings is to be as clear as possible about your expectations and boundaries. You can always ask questions. Don’t be afraid to be open, honest, and clear. Be proud of you who are and speak up!

        So, no more assumptions about what other people want, need, say, think, or feel, and no more assuming people know what I want, need, say, think, or feel.

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        Let’s say it together this time.

        I do not make assumptions.

        4. I always do my best.

        dobest

          One of the biggest hurdles to jump when telling people to “do their best” is that they often confuse the word “best” with “perfect.” But perfection is not the goal. Doing your best means that you are giving it your all in any circumstances at any time.

          The truth is that your best changes from day to day. It even changes from moment to moment. While you are consistently doing your best, your best is not consistently staying the same. Your best looks different when you’re sick than when you’re healthy. You can bet it looks way different on a day you’ve experienced a loss than on a day you’ve exercised, done yoga or played a game of softball. No matter what, though, you’ve got to get in there, give it your all, and be the best version of yourself.

          So, ask yourself every once in a while: “Is this my absolute best self?” Then, see if there is anything more or different you could do. Keep in mind that as long as you can answer “yes, this is my best” to your question, then there is no reason for self-judgment, abuse, or criticism. Be your best friend instead. Support and encourage yourself just like you would a friend or a son/daughter. And don’t waste time with regret either. Just do your best. No matter what.

          Say it with me now.

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          I always do my best.

          Are you ready to make these four agreements? As soon as you do, you can begin to make them a part of your daily life. Too much time is wasted on beliefs that keep people unhappy. Let’s not waste anymore time suffering.

          Change yourself, change your life, and watch the people around you look at you with amazement and start to change as well. Then watch yourself transform into a happier, healthier, and more loving person.

          Namaste, ya’ll.

          Oh, if you’re interested, here’s the book I’ve been referring to: The Four Agreements.

          Featured photo credit: Close up portrait of a smiling woman looking outside through window via shutterstock.com

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          Last Updated on May 21, 2019

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

          For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

          If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

          Example 1

          You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

          You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

          In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

          Example 2

          You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

          People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

          You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

          Example 3

          You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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          The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

          Example 4

          You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

          Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

          If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

          Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

          • Understand your own communication style
          • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
          • Communicate with precision and care
          • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

          1. Understand Your Communication Style

          To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

          In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

          Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

          2. Learn Others Communication Styles

          Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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          If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

          “How do you prefer to receive information?”

          This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

          To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

          3. Exercise Precision and Care

          A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

          On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

          Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

          I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

          I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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          In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

          The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

          Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

          4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

          Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

          In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

          “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

          Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

          Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

          It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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          It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

          It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

          Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

          Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

          The Bottom Line

          When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

          I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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          Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

          Reference

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