The Four Agreements: “Always Do Your Best”

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Each new day delivers a new set of trials, obstacles, conversations and expectations. It is up to our own unique self how we decide to show up. In Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, it is understood why the fourth agreement shared is best saved for last. This agreement of “always do your best” explains how your best will vary from day to day. Our bodies change at a cellular level from one day to the next so it makes sense that our best does, too.

Ruiz states, “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.” Let’s explore; however we may be feeling—happy, sad, sick or strong—if we make a conscious effort to apply our very best efforts, we are intending happiness for our lives. When we truly know we applied our best, we are absent of harsh judgment from ourselves. We can lay our heads down at the end of a long day, shut our eyes peacefully and feel content.

Being mindful that our best shifts from moment to moment, that things pop up, can surprise us, trip us up, and push us to our edge. How we respond is the true test. Imagine yourself in your focused, intended place. What does your body feel like? How are you showing up as your very best in your relationships and roles (mother, father, daughter, son, wife, husband, friend, employee, employer)? Think about every interaction you have, right down to the way you interact with your pet. How you speak, touch and share has a profound effect on your body and brain chemistry and is responsible for the end result of every interaction.

We all know what it looks and feels like when we truly do our best. We all know what it feels like when we did not do our best. The negative voice inside our mind takes over and rules our thoughts. We become full of regret and start to either point fingers to blame others, or we become so full of self-contempt we cannot see clearly. Neither is healthy or productive. What would it look like to truly and simply show up as our most full self and just do our best (what ever that may look like)?

The idea of always doing our best has some give and understanding to it. Always doing our best means to be awake. Not going through the motions, but instead living consciously in observation of personal behavior, feelings and response. Applying 100% attention to all of our activities with the understanding this 100% will shift day to day. What is meant by this is that perhaps your 100% today may look like 80% compared to the output from yesterday or last week, but as long as you know wholeheartedly that you applied your full self and you truly did your best, there can be no negative self-judgment.

The fourth agreement comes into play as we vow to do our very best to honor ourselves in being present. Give yourself a break if you have a bad day and forget your practice, knowing you can start anew tomorrow. In time, living by The Four Agreements will be like breathing to you. Enjoy the love you inspire in others and smile knowing you are taking control of your life’s personal freedom and happiness. You are loved.

Written by: Mara Gourdine

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