I’ve been fascinated with the topic of freedom for as long as I can remember. As a thinking person the idea of living an unchained, unconventional life has always appealed to me.
My quest for personal freedom has driven me to do things differently to what people expect. It’s allowed me to stand up to criticism and shrug off much of the religious dogma and cultural baggage I grew up with.
Maybe you can relate?
If you are reading this then you probably want to live life on your terms too. If so, I want to share a wonderful book that I first read a few years ago.
It’s called “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and is a simple but practical guide to achieving personal freedom.
It’s only a small book and the message is simple, but don’t let that deceive you. The truths in this book are incredibly profound and could change your life as they did for me many years ago.
This book encourages you to look at life differently starting with the way you think, speak and behave. It presents Four Agreements which if embraced can help you experience more personal freedom.
After all, if you want your life to change, you have to change.
Let’s take a closer look at what these Four Agreements are.
The Four Agreements To Personal Freedom
1. Be Impeccable With Your Words
- Speak with integrity.
- 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.
I believe our words have power and the author sums this up perfectly by encouraging us to be more intentional about our language.
The words we choose not only influence how we think and feel about ourselves, but also affect people around us and the way we are perceived.
If you have spent time in the company of someone who is negative, constantly complains or puts others down, did you notice how awful it made you feel? I’m also guessing that you didn’t want to stick around.
When we gossip and speak ill of others, no matter how deserving they may be, we hurt ourselves. We lower our vibration and with it our power to attract good things into our life. This includes good people – the kind of people who can truly enrich our lives.
Define yourself as a person of integrity, someone with class who speaks the truth and says only good things about others.
Cultivate your character to become a genuine, likeable and kind person.
It’s not always easy because for many us, judging others is part of who we are. Catch yourself when you are about to point the finger at others, and if you can’t help yourself, say nothing.
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.
I love this chapter because it taught me how to manage my emotions and release my need for approval.
Imagine what your life would be like if you stopped letting peoples’ opinions affect you and you started practicing more self-acceptance?
What if you didn’t react to what others said and did, and strived for personal freedom and happiness instead?
How would it feel to give up the need to always be right and make others be wrong?
Many people live in bondage to other people and events, and let themselves be pushed and pulled by outer circumstances.
Learn to remain detached regardless what’s going on around you. This takes training and a mindset shift but it’s like any other habit.
Practice it daily and see the difference in your well-being and your levels of joy.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
- Find the courage to ask questions and to 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.
This principle is the basis for forming positive relationships with other people and becoming a more authentic, tolerant and compassionate person.
It’s also key for finding peace within yourself and with the world around you.
If you have a habit of sidestepping issues in your life and keep repeating patterns in your relationships with others, this agreement will help you break free.
Reading this principle was like a lightning bolt for me because it helped me express myself more assertively and from the heart.
It also taught me that we can never really know what other people are going through so we should not make assumptions or judge others.
4. Always Do Your Best.
- Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.
- Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret
This chapter tells us that instead of letting our challenges and experiences break us we can use them to transform us into the people we want to become and usher in the personal freedom we seek.
It applies equally to business and life.
Instead of sinking into victimhood and letting yourself be weighed down by regret, despair, past mistakes and fear, rise up and take charge of your life one day at a time.
You can only ever do your best so be gentle with yourself. If you can’t make a quantum leap today, accept that a small step is OK and perfectly good enough.
This little book will help bring out the warrior spirit in you and help you master your life. Unlike some of the positive thinking literature out there, the principles it outlines are simple, empowering and very practical.
You can start using the Four Agreements straight away to put yourself on the path to happiness and personal freedom.
Each agreement reminds us that we often defeat ourselves through our knee-jerk reactions, the limiting beliefs we hang onto and the choices that keep us stuck – at the expense of peace of mind and success.
But if we really want to be free, we have to be willing to make changes in ourselves first;
– Have the courage to express yourself and live in the present moment.
– Let go of any attachments to the past or the future.
– Simplify your life and start to really live.
Above all, be happy with who you are, what you have and where you are right now.
If you are trying to make a change, or want to be happy and enjoy more personal freedom then embracing just one of the Four Agreements will make a profound difference to your life.
What do you think of these Four Agreements? Do you think they could help you achieve personal freedom? Please comment and share your thoughts below.