Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Fourth Agreement #TheBestofMe

The 4th agreement from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements is: “Always do your best”. He qualifies this immediately with the changeable nature of 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.”

So what is “my best”?

My best is:

apologizing when I realize I am wrong.

Letting go of the need to be right.

Forgiving others when they slight 

Laughing more.

Being patient with myself and others

practicing gratitude every day, even in the toughest of situations

Appreciating my progress

Trying again when I fail

Being kind even when I am tired or angry and don’t want to be kind

And while this might be the baseline for my “best”, it will change. It will change as I grow and it will changed based on my mental/emotional/physical state. It is only important that my best be a challenge, something to aspire to that promotes my growth and well-being.

What is your best?


  1. Learning from every experience (which covers quite a few of yours).

    This isn't intended as criticism but as a comment - if you're not a laugher at your age, you might find you don't become one, although you might. Being a laughing sort of person isn't necessarily the opposite of being a (self-)critical, angry sort of person, and letting go of the former won't necessarily make you the other.

    I know you said you're not a Buddhist, but I'm sure you've come across the idea that all emotional extremes are attachments to the world illusion within Buddhism. They don't strive only to rid themselves of negative emotions and while I laud and support your attempts to become a happier person, you might find you're happier but still more reflective and quiet rather than a regular giggler and laugher. It was one of your earlier lists that had forgiving yourself, so it's one to bear in mind for this list too.

    Being a philosophical Daoist more than anything, I'd say balanced in all things, and where I can't be balanced in myself, balanced by my partner is the best of me, along with learning from all experiences, and practising wu-wei. But I'm not very good at the last one.

  2. I agree with my closest friends, who probably have a clearer perception of me than I do myself at times, that I am a happy, friendly person. But I also take myself far too seriously at times, so reminding myself to laugh when I'm stressed or being too critical is a good practice. Being balanced in all things is of course ideal! Your approach sounds lovely.

  3. Apologies if there's two of these, I tried to post a reply and it seems to have vanished.

    Your friends obviously know you, and I only know you through what you write, here and your books. What you've written seems to present yourself as very reflective but quite angry and critical, as well as self-critical. I will gladly curtsy to the superior knowledge of your friends though.

    Being balanced in all things, or trying to be - just like meditating I slip from it - is actually quite easy now. But then I came across the ideas behind Daoism formally about 35 years ago and drifted into that way of living in a Western style more than 20 years, maybe even more than 30 years ago. After doing something pretty much daily for that long, you're either really, really stubborn, or you're doing it really, really wrong, or you're doing it well enough that it seems easy. It's either wrong and easy or I'm doing it ok and it's easy.

    Because it's daily routine for me, I don't clearly remember my early trials and tribulations but I do know it wasn't always simple and life's trials and tribulations still throw unexpected challenges into the stream. But that's what wu-wei is for, to cope with the ever changing circumstances of the world.

  4. I meant to finish with: good luck with letting go of the negatives and becoming the happier, friendlier person your friends know more of the time!

    Pesky blogger not publishing replies. Mutter, mutter.