(Health Secrets Newsletter) When I first started on this journey of creating a healthy, happy, inspired lifestyle I read a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called The Four Agreements. I was captivated by the philosophy shared in the book and read it multiple times. The perspective he shared influenced the direction of my life in a way I could never have anticipated. Sometimes in life it is the most subtle comment or brief interaction that can completely change the way you see the world. And, so it was with The Four Agreements. Through a series of articles, I’ll explore each of the agreements in relation to creating a healthy, happy, inspired lifestyle.
The First Agreement
Don’t Make Assumptions - Funny you don’t realize how many assumptions you make until you begin to make a conscious effort to discover them. We have become such good story tellers, we spend countless time making up stories in our head to justify behavior, explain situations that don’t make sense to us, and to make ourselves feel better about whom we think we are and the role we play.
We create scenarios about other people to explain their actions, justify their behaviors, and again make ourselves feel better about the way they treat us. We get so good at writing fiction in our minds that we forget it’s not true. It’s only
what we tell ourselves and may be so distorted it serves no useful purpose. It’s a skill we have mastered during our lifetime.
Another learned behavior is assuming we know what and/or how other people think. Or worse yet, we assume they know what we are thinking. Everyone has different bases of reference, so they interpret information differently. It’s not realistic to believe that everyone interprets information the same way we do.
Interpretation is a learned behavior and we learn it based on how we were raised, the environment in which we grew up, and the cultural, societal, and ethnic influences in our lives, along with a whole host of other factors. Each of us is unique magnificent creations with our own distinctive nuances.
It’s really inconceivable to believe that two or more of us could process subjective information in the exact same way. Yet, we almost never consider the fact that someone may see life differently than we do.
Make a commitment to ask questions to be clear about how others feel and think. Don’t take anything for granted and really seek to understand another person before assuming how they feel, what they believe, and how they are interpreting information. Don’t make assumptions truth.
A belief is only a thought we think over and over. Interestingly enough, a belief is not truth – it could be, but most of the time it isn’t. Usually it’s just something we have thought, been taught, and integrated into our value system as children.
When an assumption or belief presents itself take time to question its origin. Ask yourself:
- Is it true? And, how do I know it’s true?
- What happens when I believe this thought? How do I react? What’s my Emotional GPS telling me? Does this thought feel like truth?
- What if I didn’t believe this thought? How would things change for me?
- How does it serve me? Is this an empowering thought? A life-enhancing belief?
Catching yourself when you begin storytelling, releasing beliefs that no longer serve you, and asking questions to clarify things so you don’t need to make assumptions leads to enjoying life the way it was meant to be – full of love, joy, peace, and empowerment.