Emma and Ava are co-workers that have worked for the same company for years. They have a great working relationship and occasionally share some personal moments too. One morning, Emma stormed into the office after having a stressful morning, operating on little sleep and very little patience.
Without noticing Emma’s mood, Ava approached Emma with a cheerful smile and said, “Let’s get some coffee.” Emma snapped in a mean tone and said, “No, I’m busy right now.” Ava was taken back by this comment and said, “Okay.”
Later that day Emma was feeling better and she approached Ava to see if she wanted to go to lunch. Ava just ignored her request and kept working. Emma thought to herself, “What the hell?”
So now Emma and Ava were in funk and neither of them understood why.
At 2 pm an email from their boss came through calling for an emergency meeting. The two co-workers showed up to the meeting with some angst wondering what the meeting was about. Their boss got in front of the room and announced that they just signed this huge contract with a major company.
Then somebody brought in a big cake and a tray full of snacks in celebration. Before everybody dug into the yummy spread, their boss said one final announcement. She said “I’d like to thank Emma and Ava for their hard work on this project. They are an amazing team that have worked so well together over the years. We are grateful to have them in our organization.”
Both Emma and Ava were in tears and reached out to hug each other, forgetting anything that happened earlier that day.
Later that day, the co-workers chatted about what occurred earlier that morning. Emma explained her situation and apologized for being rude, she didn’t mean to hurt Eva’s feelings. Ava apologized as well for jumping to conclusions and taking things personal. They made a commitment to always do their best to be kind to each other, even on the stressful days.
The story above illustrates how easy it is to have a miscommunication and hurt somebody’s feelings. People are human with many different emotions everyday based on what life has thrown at them. It is hard to tell what people are going through inside, yet it is very easy to judge.
Don Miguel Ruiz wrote the “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” which are a set of habits that people can follow to help them live a life of love and harmony. These habits are listed below (direct quote):
- Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
- Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
- Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
In the case with Emma and Ava, if the two had practiced these four habits, the situation would have been completely different. Emma might have been kinder in her words with openness and honesty about how she was feeling.
Ava would not have taken any words personal or have made any assumptions. Both of them would have done their best to understand each other’s situation.
Like any habit, it takes practice and self-discipline. The four agreements are just a consideration on how to approach life. It is easy to jump to conclusions and run a mock in the brain. These habits take time to develop, experiment with them daily and see what happens.
In the comments, tell me about your experience with The Four Agreements. How have they helped your in your life and personal happiness?