I was at a dinner party over the holidays and was chatting with another guest about a great book that I’m currently reading. I had picked it up at the Airport bookstore during Christmas travel and it is apparently quite popular. Apparently, I say, because when I mentioned I was reading it I received a laugh and the comment “yeah, you and the rest of the word”. I couldn’t help but feel the jab, however slight it may have been.
I don’t know why but my mind immediately shifted and I started thinking about this short little paperback book The Four Agreements, that I read a month ago or so. The book, though simple, is profound in its advice. Adopt the Four Agreements and live a life of peace, joy, love and happiness. Just what we’re all looking for – right!
I started to run through them in my mind:
1. Always be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
In this particular case, number one is kind of irrelevant. But, look at number 2 & 3. By assuming that my fellow guest was insulting my book choice (which was my first reaction) I was violating one of the agreements. Furthermore, by taking exception to it I was taking it personally violating yet a second of the four agreements.
It’s always important to understand that the way we see the world is not the way any other person sees it. We, as individuals, each bring our own set of specs to each and every part of our life. Our specs are made up of our beliefs, our experiences our education etc. and no one combination is identical to another. Therefore, we can never assume with certainty the meaning behind the actions of others.
In the end I CHOSE not to assume or take personally the comment. Subsequently, I had a wonderful evening and thoroughly enjoyed finishing the book.