Tag Archive | coping

The Four Agreements – a refresh

I love this diagram, found at this site.

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How have you been going with these agreements?

My month in review: excellent on Agreement Number 4, very good on Agreements Number 2 and 3, and needs improvement on Agreement 1.

Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes. Luckily I find humour everywhere.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Yes, lit a candle and dreamed.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, looked out for another . Bought a gift for someone at work. No reason, just because. Well, saw something that I think this colleague would like and she is a lovely person. So will surprise her tomorrow.

    Today’s decluttered items = Paper, paper, paper! Paper products, envelopes, pencils, folders, craft paper, old cards, postcards. Plastic envelopes! Some is destined for the recycling bin, some for the rubbish bin and some to be (possibly) reused at work.

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    The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions

    Back to coping skills and Ruiz’s Four Agreements.

    This one works hand-in-hand with the second. Actually all four work together but this one helped me not get upset or angry, in other words not to give control of my emotions to another.

    I stopped assuming I knew the reason people did or said things. Who knows why people do things! Clearly there is a reason but it is not probably what you thought. We sometimes get upset when people do things, assuming they’re out to get us or hurt us, and it may be a total coincidence or for some reason not connected with us at all.

    Alternatively, when we half understand what someone says we tend to assume we know exactly what they meant. This misunderstanding can cause all manner of angst and distress.

    Similarly, don’t assume people know what you mean or want. We do this with our partners. What newly-coupled female hasn’t said to her partner, “Well, if I have to tell you why I’m upset, you don’t understand me and it is even worse”? Or, when the partner doesn’t do what we want or expected we say, “You should have known.” Why should he know?

    There is so much control and sadness in relationships centering on taking things personally and making assumptions.

    Reminding myself of these two agreements helps me to stay more calm.

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    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes, through the pain.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • yes, delicately.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Sat under my heated throw.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, several things, including giving a helping hand for 2 colleagues’ careers.

    Today’s second decluttered item = a teapot. I have half a dozen very nice teapots. This one is cheap and tacky; the metal is plasticky. It was given as a gift and received warmly, so the gift-giver felt happy. But I don’t feel obliged to keep it just because it is a gift, nor do I feel sentimental attachment. Well, the latter is a bit of a furphy, and makes me sound better than I am. The gift was given to my husband but he doesn’t want to keep it either. It won’t be missed and it is not decorative so adds nothing to our home decor. Off to a charity shop. Someone will like it.

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    The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

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    This is not technically a book review, more another post on my journey of self-improvement, focusing on coping skills or emotional well-being.

    But I do strongly recommend this book.

    Don’t know what it is about four when it comes to emotional well-being – Dr John had the 4 Fs and the 4 aces. Ruiz has the 4 agreements.

    These four agreements are, I believe, great principles to live by. Maybe I can count them towards Dr John’s fourth F, ie faith?

    Ruiz does go on about the ancient Toltecs and their special knowledge. Look, no offence, but I don’t believe in any of this new age mysticism, that somehow ancient races, but not Western ones, have “The Answer”. (God, I found The Celestine Prophesy one of the most tedious books I have ever read, and The Witch of Portobello equally tedious and ridiculous.)

    However, the statement that these principles embraces spirit, as “a way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love” is my idea of spirituality.

    And two of the agreements have helped me be less reactive to people, especially negative and highly critical people.

    I will write about each agreement in my next four posts.

    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes, played an old board game for the last time, before it was given away, with my sons.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes.

  • 3. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Yes, lit a nice smelling candle and had breakfast using my nice crockery.

  • 4. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Listened to my father-in-law’s stories and maintained attention and interest.

    Today’s decluttered item = an old favourite board game. My sons only wanted to play it when I said I was giving it away. It has sat high on a bookshelf gathering dust. One son said, “You are giving away my childhood.” Well, the memories can remain, and we have other board games. After two games, they both agreed it was fun to play but could go to other children who may play it more often.

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    Playing the aces.

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    Lovely little analogy here courtesy of Dr John Ticknell.

    Life is like …. no, not a box of chocolates. No, life is like a game of cards. You need all four aces to be happy. (Not to win, Dr John? Well, that would be expecting too much, wouldn’t it? Afterall, what is winning in life? Oh, he has an answer for this. Being happy is winning.)

    Anyway, back to Dr John’s analogy (and you can see how you’re doing, self assess, if you like) one Ace is not enough.

    You need the Ace of Diamonds – the drive for wealth. But if that is your only ace, you may be wealthy but not happy. I have to say, without money, stress is high but I agree, if you are financially wealthy but without friends and family who love and want to be with you, you have nothing.

    You need the Ace of Hearts. This one is crucial. This one represents family, relationships, spirituality, belief systems and compassion. Without this one, you WON’T find happiness.

    You need the Ace of Spades. This one symbolises work ethic, doing something, getting stuck in and having a purpose. Not just a job, but learning something and getting better at it through slogging away.

    Finally, you need the Ace of Clubs which, as obvious as the others are, represents clubs, OK, any form of social contact, although Dr John does make reference to going down to the local club and having a beer and a chat with mates. (For those outside Australia, every suburb and town has its club, be it the RSL club, Footy club, community club. These can be small or massive structures, dominated by pokies in NSW which subsidise the bar prices.)

    Throw in the Joker card to present having a laugh and you have a winning hand.

    So how did you go? Leave a comment and let me know.

    I think I have all Aces but need to work on the Ace of Clubs. Now my children don’t need me, I have more time for this one which is the weakest one in my hand.

    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes, but many may not like what I laughed at. Gallows humour. Wish I could share but professional responsibility precludes me from doing do. I’ll add it to my “I will write a book one day” list. Let me just say, there’s nowt queer as folk.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Not yet. Maybe after a few medicinal reds I will have a cuddle, maybe by then I won’t care for one. Too busy dominating any conversation going.

  • 3. Did I go some deep breathing?
  • No, actually I don’t care for this. I don’t like meditating. Get the giggles or wish I was doing something, as getting things off my “To do list” stops more stress than any meditation will do when I have a hundred jobs to do. So I will drop this off list. Don’t want to bloody well do any deep breathing anyway. Why think it will make me cope more? I have never enjoyed it.

  • 4. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Yes, got tipsy! (I know! How mature! But I am an Aussie and sometimes you just have to sink a few. And nothing gives that tingly feeling and not-caring-about-anything than altering your state with alcohol.)

  • 5. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, pretended tobe interested and listened to people’s stories and laughed at their jokes.

    Today’s decluttered item = nothing. No time and my back has been too bad todo anything around the house. Unless you count opening a bottle of red that was cluttering up my house as decluttering? If so, I have decluttered half a bottle. There goes my one thing a day. My bad.

    Coping skills make you younger and healthier

    So says Dr John.

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    Seeing the bright things of life and laughing boosts your immune system. Kisses and hugs increase the antibody response. Whereas unhappy or depressed people have depressed immune systems.

    Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. (Thanks Wikipedia.) Our brain and emotions affect, not only our immune system, but our whole body. Our heart, our digestive system, our lungs, our sex drive, our hormones.

    We all face stress. Of course, we all react differently to it.

    The best way to be is to have strong resilience and know that there are ways to deal with problems, without panic or negativity. Don’t internalize, don’t become aggressive, but work out what is important and what you can do to deal with issues and put the problems away when enough time has been spent on them.

    And, of course, take time to do the things that give you pleasure. Boosts the immune system, boosts the emotional resilience, boosts the ability to deal with stress.

    Smell the roses, carpe diem, call it what you will.

    Now time for today’s log:

  • 1. Did I have a laugh today?
  • Yes.

  • 2. Did I give someone a hug today?
  • Yes, husband and son.

  • 3. Did I go some deep breathing?
  • No, I am not doing well at this.

  • 4. Did I do a relaxation activity, such as read a book, have a bath, light a candle, dream, call someone and have a chat, sit in the sun?
  • Went for a very slow walk (bad back precludes walking at my normal pace) and had two glasses of wine. Latter is for medicinal purposes – bad back and all.

  • 5. Did I do something good for someone else or be nice to someone?
  • Yes, it’s my job. Lol.

    Today’s decluttered item = as part of my use-it-up push, I used up this little tube of bath wash from some hotel. It has sat in the bathroom cabinet for a few years. A nice treat – a deep bubble bath – and less clutter. Win, win.

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