The Four Agreements
Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity: say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak badly about yourself or gossip about others.
Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you: ever. What other’s say and do is a reflection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of unneeded suffering.
Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others are clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can transform your life.
Always Do Your Best: Your best is going change moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, just do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and neglect.
The four agreements as seen above are truly what we all (invisible illness or not) need to begin reading about, understanding, and most importantly practicing. Those, like myself and most of my readers have an invisible illness such as chronic pain practicing the four agreements can make a huge difference in managing chronic pain and allowing pain to take over your life. I love each agreement but I want to go through each to explain how I utilize each agreement in my every day life and my management of chronic pain. The first one says: be impeccable with your word. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Yes, I have chronic pain: no I do not talk about it to my loved ones. I am being quite repetitive but the main reason I do not talk about pain is selfish. The more I talk about pain, the more I think about pain. My main tool in managing chronic pain naturally is not thinking or focusing on pain. Hence why I try and not talk about pain and when I begin to dwell on pain, I distract myself and most of the time I am able to move my focus from pain to something else: this is a wonderful thing. However, I do have some “difficult days” as I call them. I need my loved ones to know why I may be acting “different” or in a “bad mood.” I do not want anyone to think I am upset with them or have any un-needed arguments are mis-comunnication. I tell the truth: “I am sorry I am not myself, it has nothing to do with you. I am honestly just having a “difficult day.”
Number two on the list is to not take anything personal. If you ignore all other agreements, please let this agreement be the one you do not throw away. Read it as many times as possible. NOTHING OTHERS DO IS BECAUSE OF YOU! WHEN YOU ARE IMMUNE TO THE OPINIONS AND ACTIONS OF OTHERS YOU WILL NOT BE THE VICTIM OF UNNEEDED SUFFERING! As a world, we all worry way too much what other’s think of us and are constantly trying to get other’s to like us and seek the love, acknowledgement, and understanding from those we love. When those we care for act “off” we tend to take it personally. Prime example: Just this morning as we were packing up to leave our vacation suite and start the journey back to reality, my husband was not “himself.” I thought he was angry with me and kept asking myself: “What did I do??” His frustrations had zero to do with me: he was stressed, packing, and like me not looking forward to leaving Florida and this peaceful world nor the drive home. I know better than that: I was just sad and stressed as well. I caused myself un-needed stress, worry, and tiny argument because in the moment I forgot this important agreement and honestly made myself believe he was angry with me. What a waste. Those of you with chronic pain know the last thing we need is added worry and stress as that only increases our pain levels. Practice this agreement: all I ask.
Number three on the list is to not make assumptions. This all comes down to communication. It is very difficult to express our needs to both those we love, our co-workers, friends, and for many of us the lady making your five dollar coffee at Starbucks. How much easier would life be if we were just all ourselves and communicated our needs/wants/ and desires. When I was the director of Social Services in an Adult Day Care I had many employees who were around the age of nineteen to twenty two. They were mostly in college and just trying to make some money and most were going to school to be in the medical field. I had an aid who had just turned twenty-one and was super excited to be “legal” and go to bars. She was a no call/ no show for two days and I was livid. She came to work on her third scheduled day and I obviously asked her immediately where she had been. I thought for sure she would make something up as I would have back in the day but she did the opposite. She looked at me and said: “I am so sorry Jessica. I have to be honest. I was out and I was wasted and was too scared to call. I know, you probably hate me but I wanted to be honest. It will not happen again.” I gave her a warning. I smiled at her honesty and although had to reprimand her: by the books, I also told her off the record how refreshing her honesty was. Honesty and communication can go a long way.
And lastly on the list: which I think is perfect for those dealing with an invisible illness, especially chronic pain: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST. That line is not what I love, I love: your best will change from day to day pending on illness and life circumstances. Your biggest critic is yourself and that is why I express self-love to the degree that I do. If you know you are doing your best, it does not matter what anyone else thinks or says. You know yourself! If you are proud of yourself, that is honestly all that matters.
I am always here: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you can google: The Four Agreements and print out a picture or even use my post do so. Print it out and tape it to where you will see it daily.