Becoming a wise old owl

I said wise – remember growing up is optional. Part of going through mental health issues is wisdom.You learn and grow through it. Being a seeker, I’m always looking into different philosophies and a multitude of personal development books and mindset techniques. It’s like a quest in becoming a better person. Sometimes it could be achieving one thing you couldn’t do yesterday, it could be reading a book or starting a course you have been putting off. Is there something stopping you or do you embrace it? Once you get the bug of personal transformation, it’s difficult to stop – and that’s a good habit to have. The journey is about progress and improving, not perfection and failure should be embraced as part of it. I drop some clangers, I do and say the wrong things but what’s changed from a few years ago? I don’t beat myself up about it, I learn and move on!

Photo by Cris DiNoto on Unsplash

One book that was recommended to me was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz 

It is a guide to personal freedom based on Toltec wisdom. It’s beautifully written and the agreements resonate if you want to lead a better life. We can become slaves to our self limiting beliefs. They steal so much of our life and create suffering as they hold us on a tight lead. We want to progress but they keep hold unless addressed. As we tread on this new path, this new way of living, we know it doesn’t happen over night. If we wish to adopt new ways of being, it starts with Day One. We fail, we learn and go again till eventually it becomes a natural part of our daily lives.

“Every human is an artist. The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.”

So what are the Four Agreements and how can they change your thinking? I won’t go fully into the concepts of the book but will provide a snapshot of my interpretations.

The first is to be impeccable with your word. In essence it means to speak with integrity. Your word is very powerful and can have a negative or positive impact on yourself or those around you. Your word should not be used against yourself or in gossip against others. It should be given with truth and love. As somebody who has relied heavily on sarcasm and taking the piss out of my friends and family, this was a quite a new concept. I had often belittled myself or others and talked myself down at the first opportunity. Now much of this has developed alongside my undiagnosed ADHD, culminating in confidence and self esteem issues. I can either remain the same, or change. I have held a vote and the brain voted for change. There will be no further people’s vote or referendum on the matter.

In looking at the second agreement, this is don’t take things personally. What others do or say is on their watch and a projection of themselves, not you. An example would be if someone says you are ugly. If you take it personally, it then starts to slowly form part of your psyche. You absorb their negativity, their beliefs and opinions and they become your own. We live in a world where people are often queueing up to become offended by someone or something. There is regularly a social media circus being whipped up about what someone has done or said. Judgements are flying all over the place as people take it personally. This in itself eats away in a negative state within you. Why waste your own energy or cause yourself suffering over it? An eye opening perspective and again, a way of detaching yourself personally.

With the third agreement, it says don’t make assumptions. The old saying of never assume because it makes an ass out of you and me! The mind can create a lot of chaos by misinterpreting what people say or mean. You must find the courage to get across what you mean, so that people understand on your level. Look into and investigate articles or statements and check the facts before your start catastrophizing. People often share incorrect social media posts which can have dangerous connotations. It can whip up a storm of hate for the weakminded to jump on – a tidal wave of vitriol ensues. People will often just take things at face value and believe them to be true. I have seen countless times where people have read emails or text messages and taken offence, when there was no need to. So – we all have a brain. Question things and get the facts.

The only way to change your story, is to change what you believe about yourself.

Last but not least is the magical fourth agreement. This is always do your best. Never set your efforts to ‘half arsed’. Now this doesn’t mean you have to perform Herculean style tasks everyday. Some day your best might not be good enough. As long as you have done your best, is what counts. Our inner critic will then be silenced avoiding any self judgment or regret. In looking after your mind and body, by living the four agreements, our best becomes better over time. Don Miguel Ruiz believes that this is the agreement that will truly set you free.

So it is an interesting read that certainly gets the old grey matter whirring. I can 100% see the benefits of taking these agreements on as part of my life. Years ago, I may have tried to encapsulate it all in one statement – just don’t be a dick! Simple but not effective I feel. There is so much more to dig into so I recommend having a read of this book. I’m in the early stages of taking theses life lessons on board so dare say I will fail at some point. But again, I will get back on the saddle and try again. Practice! Practice! Practice! Keep on learning, keep on trying, keep on moving forward! Never stand still.

Peace and love! Matt x

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