This approach is based on a book written in 1997 called “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book contains common-sense principles that are often used in counseling to help patients navigate life’s challenges, including addiction and mental health treatment programs. Although these Agreements sound simple, they are not always easy to live by.
What Are The Four Agreements?
What are the Four Agreements exactly? They are principles that can be used as checkpoints to help you get back on track and bring you closer to personal freedom. The Agreements include:
Be Impeccable With Your Word
The first of the Four Agreements call for truthfulness and tact. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be careful about the words you choose, because words have the power to hurt others. Don’t use words to gossip or to attack or wound others. It’s just as important to avoid using your words to tear yourself down. Use words to spread goodness, love, and honesty. We sometimes teach this principle in our individual therapy program.
Don’t Take Anything Personally
The second principle listed in the Four Agreements book entails gaining perspective. Other people’s views are opinions, not facts that necessarily align with reality. Thus, reacting to what others say and do can cause a lot of pain. It’s a waste of emotional energy because what others say and do is usually about them, not you. Refusing to take personally what others say or do can help you build a positive sense of self.
Don’t Make Assumptions
The third principle listed in the Four Agreements book calls for clear and open communication. You can’t know what others are thinking unless you ask questions. Clear communication can prevent heartache and misunderstanding, whereas assuming you know what others are thinking will only cause you pain. This principle is useful while attending a family therapy treatment program.
Always Do Your Best
The fourth and final Agreement encourages doing your personal best. If you strive to do your best all the time, there is a good chance that you will avoid judging or abusing yourself. Work toward goals and quiet self-criticism, and your life won’t be full of regret and sadness. Most of the time, you know what doing your best means. It’s acting on that belief that can be challenging.
At Promises Behavioral Health, some of our centers teach these guiding principles of ancient Toltec wisdom as a way of building self-worth and achieving happiness. For more information or to find out about our individual therapy program and group therapy programs, call us today at 844.875.5609.