I was first introduced to book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz several years ago when volunteering for a Latina Women's nonprofit organization. It was used in the organization both for an at-risk young men's leadership group and for women's empowerment and educational circles. I still have the book sitting on my bookshelf today.
It's a very fast read and one I highly recommend to my friends and family, but also would recommend to anybody with a disability who has felt beaten down or when you have those days when the stresses of living with a disability in an able-bodied world can become overwhelming.
The Four Agreements is written by a native Toltec teacher and is such a simple reminder of 4 values to live by that can help you experience personal freedom.
In a nutshell, the 4 values are:
1. Be Impeccable with Your Words
- This value is about saying only what you mean.
2. Don't Take Anything Personally
- This value reminds us that nothing other people do is because of us.
3. Don't Make Assumptions
- This value is about communicating as clearly as possible.
4. Always Do Your Best
- This value encourages readers to do their best no matter the circumstance.
These values can be easily applied to real life situations for people from all walks of life. The two that speak the most to me are #2 and #4.
#2 - Don't Take Anything Personally: When I witness discrimination or insensitivity, these words come to mind - "Don't Take Anything Personally." It's a good reminder that people make their own choices and they are not because of you. Everyone is fighting their own battles and what looks like discrimination or insensitivity might just be lack of education or ignorance. The most empowering part of this value that the author explains is that when we begin to realize and live this value, we can become immune to needless suffering at the expense of other's words or actions.
#4 - Always Do your Best: As a woman with a disability I have two traditional strikes against me. When I was younger I felt like I always had to be better than others my age, get better grades, be nicer than my friends or try harder to fit in. What I learned from The 4 Agreements is that your best is always going to change. Some days you might feel sick, at other times you might have limited resources, but no matter what, if you can do your best under any circumstance rather than compare yourself to others, you can live a satisfying and judgment-free life.
What are some books that inspire you to live the best life you can?