An inspiring, engaging and informative podcast for all your co-parenting dilemmas.
Agreement 4 - Always Do Your Best
Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best
“Under any circumstances, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next.”
The Fourth Agreement is the action of the first three, enabling them to become habits. It is the agreement that asks you to do just enough, but not too much. Perfection is not the goal .. Doing your best means falling down and getting back up.
Ruiz says “If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed, and in the end, your best will not be enough. When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets.”
Surrender to what flows easily. If something feels heavy and overwhelming, it means I’m pushing against the Universe and trying to force it. And when I use force, nothing works.
When you try to get someone to love you, it depletes your energy… and it doesn’t work. When you people-please for acceptance, it robs you of yourself. Forced effort doesn't feel good. On the flip side, have you ever done something where you felt tired afterward, but also invigorated? This kind of effort comes from joy, and it’s never depleting.
Ruiz says, “When you are doing your best just for the pleasure of doing it, you are taking action because you enjoy the action. Action is about living fully.” Lead with your heart without an attachment to the outcome and opportunities will open up.
“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”
Doing Your Best in Co-Parenting Relationships
While each agreement is simple, executing them consistently is not easy, especially in our coparenting relationships. When you are emotionally triggered, taking something personally, it usually happens on autopilot. The point is not to avoid being triggered (which isn’t really possible), but rather to use those moments as an opportunity to feel your way through the negative beliefs that surface.
Doing MY and DOING YOUR Best
I’ve read “The Four Agreements” several times over the past six months and I get something from it each time. What I do know is whenever I force something or put forth effort that drains me, it doesn’t lead to what I want.
“If you’re doing your best, you will feel good about yourself even if you still make assumptions, still take things personally, and still are not impeccable with your word.”
Answer the below questions in your journal or the
What is something you constantly overdo or put extra effort towards that depletes you? It could be work, making dinner, cleaning, keeping in touch with people, caring for a parent, etc. .What is something you put effort into that you love? Every day from this day forward, write the below in your journal as a reminder of the agreements you have made with yourself:
Today I will do my best to speak my truth and be impeccable with my word.
Today I will do my best not to take things personally, remembering it’s about them, not me.
Today I will do my best not to assume I know what other people are thinking or feeling.
Today I will simply do my best… no more, no less… and it will come from my heart.
“If you do your best in the search for personal freedom, in the search for self-love, you will discover that it’s just a matter of time before you find what you are looking for.”
Agreement 3 - Don't Make Assumptions
Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions
“The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.”
— The Four Agreements, Chapter 4
The Third Agreement is similar to the Second Agreement: Don’t take anything personally. We assume our reality is the same as someone else’s reality, so we fit whatever they do or say into how we view the world. We create stories around our reality. As you all are aware, we cannot read another person’s mind and know what they’re thinking, but there are times we act like we can!
Do you ever read into texts, or emails and think you have the other person “figured out”? You believe you know their reason, their intention, or their motivation, but that assumption is based on your reality and your beliefs. Theirs are probably different.
Remember the episode from last week… Your reality is simply that: YOUR reality. Their reality is THEIR reality.
Why do people assume? Here are a few reasons:
Assuming is safer than the truth, assuming allows you to live in a fantasy.Assuming is a big distractor from dealing with your own feelings.Assuming allows you to impose your reality on other people, expecting them to think and act the same way you do.Assumptions/Truth vs. Fantasy
If you don’t ask questions, you can continue on comfortably with the illusion that everything is just fine. It’s safer to assume your partner doesn’t want to commit (whether it’s marriage or otherwise) because he/she is not ready to settle down. You can literally assume the years away, afraid of confronting an inconvenient truth: maybe he/she doesn’t want to commit to you but because we are mirrors for each other, that leads to asking where you’re afraid to commit and why you attracted this person in the first place.
Ruiz writes, “We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.”
Assumptions and our Feelings
Assumptions allow you to avoid your own deeper feelings, the ones tied to your negative beliefs around rejection, abandonment, not being good enough, etc. If you assume rather than asking questions, you avoid confronting those beliefs, enabling you to stay within your fantasy.
But is that living fully and authentically? No, because you are operating from a place of fear rather than love. Assumptions keep you stuck in fear.
If your fear of abandonment holds you back from being authentic within your relationship, you never face your fears. Ask yourself, At what cost? How many months/years are you willing to waste, making assumptions about your relationships, only to find out your assumption was wrong?
Assumptions and our Expectations and Reality
When you assume, you attach your expectations to the outcome, often leading to disappointment. If you’re sad, you assume your partner or coparent can pick up on how you’re feeling and know exactly what to do (i.e. spend time, make dinner, buy chocolate or flowers, etc.). If he/she doesn’t do one of these things (your expectation), you’re hurt. You believe if someone loves you, they should automatically know how you feel and what you need. But remember–their reality is not the same as yours.
Ruiz says: “We assume that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make. And this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. Because we think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us and blame us as we do ourselves. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves. That is the way the human mind works.”
Agreement 2 - Don't Take Things Personally
Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally
“Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me’.”
— The Four Agreements, Chapter 3
Yes, taking things personally is all about ourselves; our ego. We think the world revolves around us and everything people do is specifically targeted to us.
How We Personalize
Ruiz believes that nothing other people say or do is because of us. It is because of themselves. How other people relate to us often depends on their mood, so if we base our self-image on how someone else treats us, we will most likely experience many difficulties. If we take things personally, we will be upset, insecure, and unhappy most of the time.
Personalizing Can and Will Destroy Relationships
This happens in relationships all the time. Let’s say you recently started dating someone who usually texts every day. One day, you get no text, so you automatically think you did something wrong. Did you say something to upset him/her? Did he/she meet someone else? You start to feel insecure and fill yourself with anxiety.
Ruiz explains, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their dream, in their minds; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we assume that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.”
Why Do We Personalize
Personalizing keeps your focus outside of yourself, so it’s a great way of avoiding your feelings. It also works really well to confirm your own negative beliefs. You’re not doing any of this consciously; it is all on auto-pilot. The first step is to notice when it happens so you can catch yourself in the moment and shift your perspective.
Personalization Is Not About You
People are going to do and say whatever they want—you can’t control that. But you can control how you respond. According to Ruiz , “Whatever people do, feel, think or say, don’t take it personally… by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing.”
First, write this down and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day: Don’t take anything personally.
When someone says something that I take personally, this is what I hear: (examples: I’m not good enough, I’m not lovable, I’ll always be single, )
When these negative beliefs come up, I feel: (examples: lonely, ashamed, belittled, angry, embarrassed, etc)How I would feel if I chose NOT to take things personally: (examples: light, confident, secure, relaxed, at ease, unburdened, happy, etc.)Jot these down in your journal without commentary or judgment. Use simple bullet points, writing down what happened and how you personalized. For example:
I was giving a presentation and someone walked out (what happened) - She hated my presentation and thought I was boring (how you personalized)My wife/husband reorganized the dishwasher again - She doesn’t think I can do anything rightNow, go back through each scenario and list three possible reasons for the action. Using the first example above, you might write:
I was giving a presentation and someone walked out (what happened)
She hated my presentation and thought I was boring (how you personalized) Possible Reason #1 - She had to urgently use the bathroom Possible Reason #2 - She double-booked herself and had to run to another meeting Remember: your perception of reality is based on your beliefs, and theirs is based on their beliefs. Neither is right /wrong, they are just different.
Agreement 1 - Be Impeccable with Your Word
The First Agreement - Be Impeccable With Your Word
Why is your word so important? Because, according to Ruiz, it is your power to create. “What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word.”
It’s all connected, and what you say matters. This includes what we say to ourselves as well as what we say to others. Our inner voice is often the most destructive because it draws from our negative core beliefs: I’m not good enough, smart enough, worthy of love, deserving of happiness, etc.
So what does it mean to be impeccable with your word? From its Latin roots, it means “without sin,” which Ruiz goes on to explain:
“A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself. Everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin. You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself for anything. Being without sin is exactly the opposite. Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself.”
Going Against The First Agreement
We go against ourselves all the time without realizing it. We say we want one thing, but then we do exactly the opposite. Because our subconscious wants to keep us safe, it will default to what is known and familiar, even if it’s painful and not at all what we want. It’s because we created it with our own thoughts, words, and actions.
When you blame others, you are not impeccable with your word. Angry words directed at someone else (whether they hear them or not), are angry words you use against yourself. They are a reflection of how you feel inside. It comes from a place of believing you are owed by this person rather than looking at where you let yourself down.
My Version Of The First Agreement: Speak Your Truth in Love
Speak your truth, Speak your truth but do it with love. Instead of hiding who you are and how you feel, express it openly and honestly. This can be scary for many of us because we’re afraid of being judged and rejected. If we can get thru the fear and move past the fear we will find the KEY to emotional freedom,, self-acceptance and a living an authentic life is all within the first agreement.
The First Agreement and our Co-Parenting Relationships
Finding ways to encourage, honor and respect the other co-parent, is only part of the way I am impeccable with my words. Work hard on not gossiping about the other co-parent or engaging in negative talk that only hurts and doesn’t help. Whenever I’m emotionally triggered, I am always willing to take responsibility no matter what! No unnecessary drama, blame, or tirades.
For the next week, pay attention to your words, both verbal and your internal dialogue. In your journal, jot them down. Write down when you were impeccable with your word and spoke your truth, and when you didn’t.
What is something you are hiding, which you may have shame around? What are your fears around expressing it to another person?When was the last time you said you would do something, but didn’t go through with it? Examples might include making plans to get together with someone, sending a thank you note, calling a parent or friend, etc. How did/do you feel by going against what you said you would do? Benefits? Is it a pattern of letting yourself down? Is it an opportunity to punish yourself because that’s something you’re used to? I suggest making two columns: one for times you were impeccable with your word and one for the occasions you didn’t. If you can, write it down in the moment! If you have trouble remembering to check in with yourself, set a reminder once or twice a day.
Again, it’s all connected. Choose your words carefully. They are more powerful than you think.
The Four Agreements - October Series
THE FOUR AGREEMENTS
By Don Miguel Ruiz
1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the
word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the
power your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a
projection of your own reality, their own dream. When you are
immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the
victim of needless suffering.
3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS
Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really
want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid
misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just the one
agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be
different when healthy as opposed to sick. Under any
circumstances, simply do your best, and you will avoid selfjudgment,
self-abuse, and regret.
10 Things To Do When Everything is Falling Apart
1. Take a break/Don’t be afraid to feel it/Write it out - Things have a way of working themselves out and once we lean into “letting go” typically things will work out. If you can write out what you are feeling when the world that's crumbling around you, this excercise will help you refocus and you will have a clearer picture of what's going on. Once you do, you can reassess the situation and figure out the best course of action.
2. Get support - Don't hesitate in asking for help, this means having to put your ego aside. Whether if it's getting some outside therapy, asking advice, having a friend to vent to, or just being around someone who's upbeat. Having a strong and positive support system is one of the best ways to feel positive and happy again. Studies have shown that positivity is contagious. So, make sure that your support system is optimistic and positive because these attributes will lift your spirits. At the same time, your support system needs to also include people who are honest - even if they can be harsh sometime.
3. Attempt something new/declutter - Changing things up or declutter will spark motivation and move you out of your comfort zone. Science has actually proven that when we try something new it triggers certain parts of our brain and releases the motivation chemical dopamine.
4. Make your goals visible/visualize your best day - Make your goals visible so you visually see what you're working toward and figure out how you'll achieve it. Writing down your goals also help you focus, train your brain to be more proactive, and it gives you peace of mind.
5. Focus on small things first -When your world is falling apart it can be easy to find plenty of little things you can fix. For example, if you're not happy with your weight, make small changes in your lifestyle like taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
6. Speak and show positive affirmations - There may be no more of a powerful force than self-talk. If you keep reminding yourself how terrible everything thing is around do, do you really believe that you'll be motivated to do something about it? Regardless of the negativity going on around you, say out loud what you want to happen. Write down a daily affirmation and place it somewhere that you're going to see it, such as your bedroom or bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or computer monitor.
7. Take action/Don't mope - find something simple and set a goal, take action and this motion forward energy will create more energy to take action. Don't mope an wallow in your own pity.
8. Take a 20 minute nap - set your alarm and take a reset nap.
9. Be with other humans - The pandemic has changed everything, but if you feel safe to do so, visit a friend or sit in an outside café and be around other people and get out of your head for a little while.
10. Water & Sleep - drink lots of water, use lemon, lime, cucumber slice or orange slices for variety and go to be early.
Things I Avoid When Everything is going wrong.
· Sad music or nostalgic music,
· Social Media - comparison is a joy killer
· Complicated '"family" relationships or Negative People
· Alcohol or Medicating yourself with a depressant.
Some of the best advice I ever received was to stop trying to “fix” things when everything and just surrender to life. Life has a way of working itself out when we learn to let go. Focus on gratitude and breathe.
A wealth of knowledge!
This podcast is such a great resource across a multitude of areas - co-parenting, adoption, step-parenting, cross cultures...
Deborah is lovely to listen to, it feels like sitting down and having a chat with a girlfriend. I love her authenticity and the perspective she brings to the table. Excited for future episodes!
Letting Go of Anger Post Election
Oh my goodness! I so needed this podcast today. I am so devastated and angry with the people in this country and the inherent racism, sexism and bigotry that exist. I am going to work through your steps, because not only well forgiveness help me personally in the healing of my soul, but I know it will help me be a better parent through these tough times.
Not to mention, your soothing voice was like a meditation for me. Thanks so much friend!
Love your Podcast!
Your Podcast is very informative and very interesting! Very easy to listen too.