The four agreements are simple.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don't take anything personally. i.e. Nothing is personal.
3. Don't make assumptions.
4. Do your best.
The book further elucidates these agreements in a way that is a bit "froo-froo" but is valuable nonetheless when read with an open mind.
The first agreement is described as the most important, and when it's fully explained, I can see where it could be. To be "impeccable" with one's word on the surface seems to mean to always be honest, and while I'm sure that's included in its scope, basically, it intends to say to always be positive with your word--even the "words" in your mind--because our words, our thoughts, are the things that create our worlds. Miguel Ruiz explains that the words of those around us and the rest of the world are what create our worlds from the very beginning.
For quite a long while, now, I've been working with the premise that "With Out Thoughts We Create Our Worlds," a premise that I've heard all my life, starting with my dad when I was a little girl. All the different applications and translations of that, however, are still coming to me over time, as is the depth of its truth. While reading about the first agreement, I had another small revelation about the power of words/thoughts and how they form our lives.
I have the distinct memory of being about six or seven years old and asking my mom for gymnastics lessons. My asking for anything, especially something so expensive, was unusual because we didn't have much money, and I knew the expense would be a hard thing for my parents to spare. I wanted those lessons, though, more than I had wanted just about anything--ever--and in my heart I believed I could be more than just a good gymnast. I could be a great one. I could, after all, turn better cartwheels than any other girl in school and do the splits in any way possible. So in my memory, I am standing in the kitchen with the afternoon light streaming through the window, looking up at my mom. I have just asked her if I could take gymnastics lessons, and I am anxiously awaiting her response when she says, "Oh honey, you're too fat to take gymnastics." I told this story once in earshot of my mother, and she was appalled. She swore that there was no way she would ever tell me such a thing. My argument always was, "How could I have just made up such a clear memory?" In her defense, she did always seem to believe in my capabilities despite her seemingly endless pessimism. Whether it was a true memory or not, it was a part of my reality, and I am beginning to wonder if that moment shaped my future more than I have previously thought.
Maybe my "I'm a jump retard," "I'm not an athlete," "I'm a chubling" thoughts were seeded in that six or seven year old girl.