Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Four Agreements

I had been frustrated with some of the relationships in my life the last few weeks. So when I joined Paperback Swap I put The Four Agreements on my wish list. Somehow, even though there were two other people wishing for that book ahead of me, the book was sent to me, and from someone in the next town over, so it arrived in two days. It's amazing how when we really need something it shows up.

This book is like a bible to me. It's like therapy without having to spend years getting to the crux of the matter. I can't speak highly enough of it. I had borrowed it from a friend and read it once before, but owning it is great. I can fold over pages and go back and read my favorite passages over and over.

I'm going to list some of my favorite passages here. The ones that are helping me put myself back in order this time around.

"Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself. If I see you in the street and I call you stupid, it appears that I'm using the word against you. but really I'm using my word against myself, because you're going to hate me for this, and your hating me is not good for me. Therefore, if I get angry and with my word send all that emotional poison to you, I'm using the word against myself."

"Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true."

"Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world."

"Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know it is your problem and not my problem. It is the way you see the world. It is nothing personal, because you are dealing with yourself, not with me. Others are going to have their own belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them."

"If you get mad at me, I know you are dealing with yourself. I am the excuse for you to get mad."

"Humans are addicted to suffering at different levels and to different degrees, and we support each other in maintaining these addictions. Humans agree to help each other suffer. If you have the need to be abused you will find it easy to be abused by others. Likewise, if you are with people who need to suffer, something in you makes you abuse them. It is as if they have a note on their back that says 'Please kick me'. They are asking for justification for their suffering. Their addiction to suffering is nothing but an agreement that is reinforced every day."

"If others are not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you."

"If others feel they have to change you, that means they don't love you just the way you are. So why be with someone if you're not the way he or she wants you to be?"

"If you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself."

These passages speak to me on different levels. I can see myself as both the person thinking others cause her pain, and the person thinking she causes others'. It has been a huge weight off my shoulders to know I'm not responsible for what other people think, even in response to something I may have done. It's also making it a lot easier to "forgive" people for things, because I now know that what they did was not because of me.

I can only control how I look at things. And doing a good job of it makes life so much more heartening. I know that through all of my challenges in all of my relationships, I have truly tried my best. My best to be a good friend, my best to open up and let people in, and my best to use words to express myself as clearly as I'm capable of. So I therefore can't judge myself. And that's a huge load off my mind.

I have been living at peace for the last week or so and it feels really good. I hope to stay here for a long time. And hopefully it will be easier now that I own the book.

I have even made my other blog public again.