Stacy’s Book Note: The Four Agreements

When I was in graduate school, I learned that there were three types of organizational conflict: task conflict, process conflict, and relationship conflict. Of these, the one with the least to do with the work itself is also the one that causes the most stress and is the most difficult to resolve: relationship conflict.

In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (available on my Bookshop and Amazon*), Don Miguel Ruiz shares Toltec wisdom, spiritual knowledge and practice from a society of scientist and artists originating in Southern Mexico. His advice can be helpful in preventing and resolving relationship conflict in workplaces, schools, non-profits, families, etc. In fact, I learned of this book, not from Oprah, but from two men in finance, one who purchased copies of this book for their colleagues and subordinates in hopes that it would change his workplace climate.

In case you don’t have time to pick up the book, here are the four agreements with my interpretation of how it is relevant to women and parents:

1. Be impeccable with your word

Be careful not to be overly critical with yourself and of others. And, do not gossip.

“Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true.”

2. Don’t take anything personally

You can prevent a lot of unnecessary anguish for yourself if you don’t take on the “emotional garbage” of others.

“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves…. Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you.”

3. Don’t make assumptions

Make communication clear. If you don’t understand ask for clarification.

“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.”

4. Always do your best

Rather than try to do everything or worry about the past, do what you can–what you feel is right–now.

“Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely…. Don’t be concerned about the future; keep your attention on today, and stay in the present moment.”

I’m curious to know what you think of these principles and how you might want to apply them in your own lives. Do you think they could help your relationships? Please let me know what you think!

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*Some of the links on this page are “affiliate links” where I receive a small commission from any purchases at no cost to you. Some of these funds will be donated to organizations supporting women and girls.