IBD Awareness

The Four Agreements

September is my favorite month of the year, yet this year it was filled with a lot of lows. I have been feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and frustrated – especially since I haven’t really gotten back to 100% after having COVID. I have been tested a lot in my life, but I always find my way even if it takes some time. I needed a pick-me-up so I grabbed a book from my shelf that I haven’t read yet titled The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Every time I pick up a self-help book, I feel like it speaks exactly to what I’m going through in that moment. It’s relatable to really anybody. Don Miguel Ruiz talks about four agreements that everyone can adopt to live a better, more fulfilling life. The first agreement is “Be impeccable with your word.” Be conscious about the words you use with others, because they can either be damaging or uplifting. Words cannot be taken back. He mentions positive self-talk quite a bit and that is always an area I could use improvement on. You attract what you put out.

The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.” You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for yourself. I play devil’s advocate a lot because I choose to see the good in people and take on their problems. I am a naturally empathetic person and my instinct has always been to offer support to others, but forget about myself. Understanding what I can and cannot control is a lesson I need to work on.

The third agreement is “Don’t make assumptions.” Wow, that is a tough one. I make assumptions ALL the time, but it’s not healthy and they aren’t always accurate. The cure to this is good communication. Ask questions, even if they are uncomfortable. Get clarification, because you deserve to know the truth. Collecting all the facts before coming to a conclusion is much better than making a wrong assumption and occupying unnecessary space in your head.

The fourth and last agreement is “Always do your best.” This is an affirmation that I have on my closet door that I read every morning. We cannot do anything more than our best each day. If I’m not feeling 100% one day, I’m not going to be able to perform my daily duties to the best of my ability. Your best can change from moment to moment, so being cognizant of how you are feeling and how much energy you can expend without guilt is so important. In other words, take one day at a time and live in the present moment.

I had an appointment with my GI doctor recently because I’m not happy with where I’m at and he gave me a good piece of advice. He said that “you’ll fall hard, but you’ll get back up.” I fall all the time, but I always do what is necessary to get back up. That is what warriors do. I am not a perfect human being. I am flawed in so many ways, and one of my flaws is getting caught up in the negative. When I put my life into perspective, I am grateful for everything I have, my support system, and my health because without that – I have nothing.

I challenge you to take up one or all of the four agreements. It’s not something that can be done overnight, but it’s worth mastering at least one of the agreements and integrating it into our daily lives.

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