making agreements.....

Have you read the book by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements? I bought it and read it when it first came out a long time ago. I was so taken with the simplicity of what he shares that I gave it out as gifts to people I care about. I say I was taken with the simplicity of it, but really there is nothing simple about them for me.

Hah! Not so easy.

In the past couple of weeks the book keeps surfacing in my life...seeing quotes, dusting the book shelf and there it is, a friend mentioning it. 
 So I decided to sit down with it and read a little.
The agreement that jumped out at me was the third agreement...
Don't make assumptions. 

Oh, how I fall down on that one. It's not that I assume that things will go on tomorrow like they do today. I recognize that change can come in a split second. 
But I do assume things about people, who they are, what they will do, what they won't do. What they believe. 

I was with a friend I've known for many years. We travel the same circles. We were talking about our President and she said a truly racist thing. I was so taken aback that I was actually speechless. How did I not know this about her? 
I had assumed she felt we were all equal.

I know this man...a cowboy...seems hard as nails. Gruff. I didn't like him much. One day we saw each other and exchanged greetings. I asked how he was doing. He told me about having to have his dog put down. He started crying. And from there he moved on to talking about the loss of his wife and his estrangement from his daughter...crying throughout his story. He became a very soft and loving man right before my eyes, when I had assumed he was was hard and harsh to the core...

I am amazed out how often I misinterpret people I have thought someone was snooty or didn't that didn't like me, only to discover they are shy. Oh that someone had a full life, only to find out they were lonely. It goes on and on, my assumptions.

I even make assumptions about you, my readers and fellow bloggers. Based only on what you reveal on your blogs, or on comments, I have filled in the gaps with my own assumptions about your lives. 

I assume a lot with people I love too...that they will behave in a certain way. That they think like I do. How else could it be?...they are part of my tribe. But it isn't true...we very often have deep and divisive ways of seeing and doing things. 

My assumptions have caused some serious pain.

And so often I have built a dream around one of them only to discover they are on a totally different track. I end up angry and hurt when they don't follow along with my plans because I assumed that they want the same things as I do. I get upset because something I expected someone to do isn't going to happen, yet I had assumed they could have, should have done it, would do it, when maybe I never asked for what I wanted...or maybe I didn't express myself as clearly as I could have. Maybe they just didn't read my mind that day. 

Or maybe somewhere along the line I let them believe something didn't matter, 
when really is mattered a lot and I assumed that they would come around.
Maybe I spoke without integrity....out of my truth.

Maybe I wasn't impeccable with my words.

Ruiz says we have to ask questions. Lot's of them. And that we have to be impeccable with our own word so that people aren't making assumptions about us. He points out that we tell little lies or half truths here and there, not being impeccable with our word and that creates assumptions about us. About who we are and what we want.  
Oh how often I leave things out when speaking...maybe not saying what I think you want to hear, but often omitting what I know you don't want to hear.  

My life would be different had I not made some critical and incorrect assumptions...
or let others have them about me.

And then there is this ....Ruiz says to ask question until everything is clear... and then assume that the person answe
ring is being impeccable with their words. 

and Ruiz challenges us to take nothing personally. 



Tammie Lee said...

i remember when i read this book, a long long time ago ;-). I loved it. I thought these four things should be taught to all very early in life, the basics for being a decent human being. I feel they are so wise and helpful. I love not making assumptions, they are often wrong and they are more about the person making the assumption than the other person. So amazing to consider! thank you for reminding me.

Joyce Wycoff said...

The one that keeps tripping me up is "Don't take anything personally." I keep trying, but ...

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