Several years ago, Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements and a gifted teacher of Toltec wisdom, gave me three agreements for my own life. I had made the four agreements part of my practice, and these additional three helped to put the changes I wanted to make into place. I’m sharing them now in case they can be helpful to you.
I had done my first workshop with Don Miguel a month before, and the powerful, beautiful love that emanated from him was palpable. We are all learning to be vessels of love in this way now, but that workshop was the first time I had encountered anyone who embodied love. I knew that I wanted that experience for myself.
During our lunch break, I ran into him in the bookstore. I started to thank him for writing The Four Agreements, and I wanted to say it helped me begin to change. But when I went to speak, all that came were tears. He hugged me and said, I know. And surprisingly, he did know. Because a month later, at the second workshop, he gave me my own personal three agreements.
During the first workshop he was wearing some black tennis shoes, and I decided I wanted a pair. They felt magical. Two weeks later, I happened to see those shoes in a store. As I walked toward them, they danced right off the display rack onto the floor!
I told him about the shoes the next time I saw him. “That’s how life is,” he said. Those simple words gave me permission to believe what I’d been observing—that the world is a magical place and when we open to it, we begin to experience that magic.
That’s when he gave me the three agreements. These helped me to stop the self-betrayal and self-sabotage that had been undermining me for so many years. It was amazing how much clarity he was able to convey with so much simplicity. And how much practicality.
Never go against yourself.
At a young age, most of us learn to go against ourselves, and this is the source of much unhappiness and frustration. But we can choose to stop that. Instead of continuing to accommodate others so as not to “hurt their feelings,” we can express our own wishes. This can be challenging to learn. If we stop going against our Self, that means we have to begin to create what we want. Some of us have never done that before, especially when other people are involved.
We have to look seriously at what we want to create. We also have to look at what other people are asking us to agree with. We may not even realize this is the issue. We may discover we are agreeing in order to avoid arguments, disagreements and potential hurt feelings. Many of us learned not to make waves. But as we begin to not go against our Self and not agree with other people just to avoid confrontation, we begin to encounter the magic. We find that we are feeling happier and better about our Self because we are choosing our own happiness. We are choosing what we want to create, and this is an important aspect of self-love. Not until we learn to love ourselves without judgment can we love others in an unconditional way.
To know what you want, feel it in your heart. Your heart will tell you the truth. And once it tells you, honor that. Tell yourself the truth. This is how you stop going against yourself.
Never agree with anyone who goes against you.
We might not realize we are doing this. For instance, if someone says, “You aren’t very good at that,” or “Nothing makes you happy,” or “You are your own worst enemy,” or any of the other unhelpful things people say, and you believe them or don’t tell your Self something else, then you are agreeing with them, even if the person was just expressing their opinion based on their limitations or fears. We can choose what we believe. And tell our Self the new belief. Every time we hear the new belief, it helps us to believe it. It helps us to create it. And we can make a boundary with the other person; we can say that we are in the midst of learning who we are and their input doesn’t feel supportive. In this process it is important to follow our inner guidance. And once we learn to please our Self, we can return to making others happy, because we are no longer sacrificing our own happiness. But when anyone tells us something about us, we need to decide what it is we ourselves believe or like or want to create. Again, we can feel this in our heart. It is important not to agree with anyone who is going against us.
Never put yourself in a situation that goes against you.
For me, this one was hard to remember until I put it into practice. One example involved a party that I didn’t want to go to. It dawned on me that it was my choice. I realized that going to the party meant putting myself in a situation that went against me. We can choose not to take part in things that feel like they are not supportive. We often don’t want to disappoint people or hurt their feelings, so we are afraid to say what we feel. And sometimes all we have to say is, I can’t come. But remember: we get to choose. Choosing to love ourselves into wholeness is what creates the magic.
As you practice these agreements, they become a part of who you are. I offer them to you, so that you too can find your happiness and the freedom that comes with it.