THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz (purchase on SMILE amazon to support The Exchange)

*The four agreements explain where our thoughts, expectations, and labels come from

*The four agreements explain why we act the way we act and think the way we think

*As children we are taught what to believe/what not to believe, what is right/what is wrong, what is pretty/what is not pretty…..etc…

*As children we don’t know how to argue with what we’ve been taught

*You believe what your parents tell you…..If you hear “you are beautiful and smart”….you believe you are beautiful and smart.. if you hear “you are ugly and stupid” you believe you are ugly and stupid

*We all teach what we know….what else can you teach than what you know?

*Rules get engraved

*When new information comes in rather than running it through a “truth grid” we often just reject what we don’t know

*The only way to store information is by agreement

*We judge other people…Who do we judge?….usually people doing what you don’t think is right

*What if they weren’t taught the same way you were?

*We also judge ourselves…we feel we are the “victim” when we don’t live up to our “book of law”

*These beliefs we were told as children creep into adulthood

*Story about a man walking through an elephant camp….(discovering that the elephants weren’t in cages or tied up with chains….they were tied with a small rope—-but, they had been tied up with the same size rope when they were little and over time they were conditioned to believe that the rope could hold them and they continued believing into adulthood–they were bound with a rope they could easily break free from)

*Anything that challenges what we believe makes us feel uncomfortable/fearful

*People talk about what they know…..people talk about what makes them feel safe (even if it isn’t true)….(Elizabeth gave the example of her family vacations: politics, religion, and diets)

*The most important agreements are the ones we’ve made with ourselves….if these are holding us back and not serving us well we can change them




*it is so simple….but so hard

*your word is powerful

*you can create or destroy

*the words you hear can shape your entire life

*the words you say can shape someone else’s life

*we believe what we hear over and over again

*some people speak life…some people speak destruction

*Try to listen to your words for a day….Are your words impeccable?

*If you believe something you have been told how do you break it….you learn a new truth….Only they truth will set you free

*One of the worst ways to use out words is gossip…gossip separates

*We can get tainted by other people’s opinions and we can’t taint others with our opinions

*We even use our words against ourselves

*You can measure the impeccability of your word by the degree of your self love


*Why do we do we take things personally?  self importance…we think everything is about me, me, me

*NOTHING OTHER PEOPLE DO IS BECAUSE OF YOU. IT IS BECAUSE OF THEM(the realization of this gives freedom and the ability to give grace)

*Hurt people hurt people

*When someone says, “Their words hurt me” it isn’t their words that hurt you….it is your wound that was triggered

*When you realize this and decide not to take things personally you save yourself so much useless suffering

*When you don’t take anything personally you can hardly be hurt by other people


*We make assumptions about everything

*We make assumptions and we believe they are right….which leads to misunderstanding…we take it personally…and have emotional poison

*It is always best to ask than make an assumption

*Our minds are always searching for meaning….so we feel the need to justify everything

*We search for meaning even if it isn’t true

*We make assumptions and agree that if people really love us they should know what we want

*We fear being ourselves because we assume others will judge us (the way we judge ourselves)

*If you don’t understand….ask!

*The day you learn to stop making assumptions is the day you start to communicate more clearly

*Understanding this is not enough….it is the ACTION


*Number 4 is about ACTION….the engagement of the first three

*Our best will never be the same…it is changing all the time….your best is going to change over time…and with time your best is going to be better than it use to be

*We’ll be giving our best to ourselves and everyone around us

*We know when we are doing our best and when we are not

*You can’t live your best life if you just live passively

*ACTION is living fully

*Be present and fully alive

*You don’t need to prove anything to anyone

*The 1st 3 will only work if you do #4…do your best!

*Have compassion with yourself

*Practice new habits

*Like a baby learning to walk….if you take a few steps/fall/then get back up….clap!

*Growth is a dance not a light switch


1)Do you have agreements from childhood that you have a hard time breaking free from?

2)Which agreement needs the most work? What will you do to improve it?

3)Which agreement could you benefit most from? How will you adopt it in your life?