by Christina Martinez, LCSW

In 1997, Don Miguel Ruiz wrote the book “The Four Agreements-A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.” In the book, Ruiz recounts the indigenous teaching of a Toltec elder which transformed his outlook on life. These agreements can serve as a guide on how to navigate our lifelong journey.

What are the four agreements?

The first is to be impeccable with your words. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using gossip to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Secondly, 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.

The third agreement is 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.

Lastly, 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-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

These agreements can be used to guide us in the choices we make for ourselves and how we decide to treat others.

(Christina Martinez, LCSW, is the Program Manager of the Los Banos Clinic of Merced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, located at 40 W. G. St.,Suite C, in Los Banos.)

The Westside Express