About 2 years ago I discovered the book, 'The Four Agreements'. It changed my life. It had such a profound impact on me, I even wrote the second agreement on my mirror so that I would be reminded of it each morning.
According to the author, Don Miguel Ruiz, the information contained in the book is based on ancient Toltec wisdom which he learned growing up in Mexico from his faith healing mother and his Shaman father. Here is a link to an overview of Don Miguel Ruiz and his seminars and his books, The Four Agreements
These are the four agreements we should make with ourselves:
1. Be impeccable with your word:
Say what you mean and speak with integrity. Use the power of your words to speak with love and understanding and empathy.
2. Don't take anything personally:
Nothing that others do is because of you. Others project their own dreams and their own reality. When you are immune from the actions and opinions of others, you save yourself from needless suffering. When someone criticizes you, it is because of their own perceived views. When someone complements you, it is also because of their own projections of beauty.
3. Don't make assumptions:
Ask questions and express what you want. This takes courage and makes you vulnerable, take the leap, as this avoids misunderstanding and drama. You can transform your life.
4. Always do your best:
Your best may change from moment to moment, day to day. Your best may change depending on whether you are healthy or sick. By always doing your best, you avoid self-judgement and regret.
I have learned to stop putting so much emphasis on what other people say to me or how people treat me. I have learned that when a driver flips me off, they must be having a hard day and it doesn't have anything to do with me. I have learned that when the waitress is rude to me, the customer before me was likely rude to her and she is now taking it out on me. I have learned that when I say I will be somewhere, I need to be there or call instead of just not show up, because my word is my bond.
I have learned to ask questions when I don't understand. I have learned that it is okay to not feel as though I am supposed to know how people think or feel or behave, but it is better ask than assume I know. I have learned that when my day has gone very badly, my best is very different than when my day is going well, and it is okay to go home, drink a cup of tea and put my feet up, because my best for that day has been spent and I am done. It is okay to acknowledge that. When I am having a good day, I expect more out of myself.