This approach is based on a book written in 1997 called “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book contains common sense principles that are often used in counseling to help patients navigate life’s challenges. Although these four agreements sound simple, they are not always easy to live by.
These are the Four Agreements that can be used as checkpoints to help you get back on track and bring you closer to personal freedom:
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be careful about the words you choose, because words have the power to hurt others. Don’t use words to gossip or to attack or wound others. It’s just as important to avoid using your words to tear yourself down. Use words to spread goodness, love and honesty.
Other people’s views are opinions, not facts that necessarily align with reality. Thus, reacting to what others say and do can cause a lot of pain. It’s a waste of emotional energy because what others say and do is usually about them, not you. Refusing to take personally what others say or do can help you build a positive sense of self.
You can’t know what others are thinking unless you ask questions. Clear communication can prevent heartache and misunderstanding, whereas assuming you know what others are thinking will only cause you pain.
If you strive to do your best all the time, there is a good chance that you will avoid judging or abusing yourself. Work toward goals and quiet self-criticism and your life won’t be full of regret and sadness. Most of the time you know what doing your best means. It’s acting on that belief that can be challenging.
At Elements Behavioral Health, some of our centers teach these guiding principles of ancient Toltec wisdom as a way of building self-worth and achieving happiness.
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