I was looking at The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
This is the list:
Be Impeccable With Your Word
Don’t Make Assumptions
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Always Do Your Best
First, a little background, for those of you who haven’t been with me a long time. The Four Agreements and the Daily Affirmations of Abraham-Hicks are tools I was using long before I fully understood what they meant. That is the beauty of the Agreements — they are steps anyone can take, even at the simplest level. Then, as my spirit grew more attuned to, well, everything, I found new and important principles in the Agreements, much deeper than my early understanding of them. An example:
When I first considered the Agreement, Always Do Your Best, I was still mired in the perfectionism of my childhood. I believed I did my best my entire life, when in fact, my expectations were so high, I was enveloped in a perpetual sense of quiet desperation. By wanting so badly to do, not my best, but the best, even when I succeeded, I failed. After all, a near-perfect grade average of 14.3 out of 15 felt great, but inside me a little voice whispered, “You could have done better.” Even when this thought was buried deeply in my subconscious, it influenced me to believe that my grade average could have been better. And that led to endless reviews of my high school work, and that contributed, eventually, to a very deep depression.
I coped with this situation as best I could, not only in school but later, in college and in my jobs. Throughout my life, I dreaded being proven a fool, in any aspect of existence, all the while acting the fool in so much of my daily life. I hated my high blood sugars, but I didn’t do much, if anything, to fix them. And so on, and so on….
So, my first reaction to this Agreement went something like this: I always try do my best. The circumstances of my life keep me from doing any better. I didn’t get the point, at all, which came as no surprise when I think of my skewed sense of what was acceptable.
Later, though, as I came up against that Agreement, over and over, I started thinking about what doing my best means. Thanks to my sister, S., and some very long telephone conversations, I found a deeper level of accomplishment went along with this idea. My best was not some particular standard or measurement. My best changed all the time. On a day when I felt confident, my best involved striving as hard as I could, given the circumstances. On days of depression or melancholy, my best could be measured as brushing my teeth when I got out of bed. Either of these situations involved me doing the best I could at that particular moment. What a difference.
One step I must emphasize here, and it’s one many of us with mental illnesses struggle over much of the time. I could never really do my best until I forgave myself the grave error of never being the best. That task required a deep breath and a leap of faith, that I deserved forgiveness and that I could bestow that on myself. But once I took that jump, I knew I could do my best all the time, because now I understood that, as with any ordinary human being, my best changes from day to day, and I needed only do the best I can.