Fourth Agreement

“Agreement #4 – Always do 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.”

My yoga teacher is currently focusing on the fourth of four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Inspired by Toltec wisdom of Southern Mexico, the simple idea to Ruiz’s four agreements is that they are a basis for living one’s life, like an “inspirational code for life” as I’ve seen it quoted. The other 3 are:

#1 – Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

#2 – Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

#3 -Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

I can think of so many ways that the other three can be applied to my life, but the one I have been concentrating on is the fourth one that opened the post. The reasoning being as follows….

Running has taken on two forms in my life –

Patience with where I am at versus Wondering why I cannot be like another runner.

I think it is linked to many other ups and downs in our lives. We pat ourselves on the back when we do a good job or are the first to criticize when something does not go our way. Who are we comparing ourselves against when we praise or condemn? Ourselves? Another?

It is quite easy as a new runner to become caught up in others’ goals, others’ training plans, others’ races, and others’achievements. It is one thing to congratulate, praise, and support. However, we take a large focus off of ourselves and what we are capable of when we look at another and see where they are at in comparison to ourselves.

am i alone in this?

This becomes even more frustrating when we get injured, blow up mid-race, have our first DNF, fall short of a PR, or achieve our first PW. Even worst – when we believe we are the only one out there experiencing those moments.

I wonder what would happen if we had those conversations with those we admire in the sport of running to ask them about those moments when they found themselves criticizing and how they used that to return back the next day.

In the moment of patience with where I am, the fourth agreement rings true to “always do my best” at that moment. If I am injured, what am I doing to help myself out at that moment to move towards recovery? If I am healthy, am I appreciating where I am yet striving to look ahead?

Notice no mention of them…ya know, the other runner next to me. What are they able to do at their best? Guess what – that is different from person to person. There are so many factors that one needs to take into consideration (that we often time ignore) when determining a person’s best.

So what is my current best in runners terms 🙂 – to take the time to strengthen my body to prevent injury, to fuel my body appropriately to build muscle, and to find the balance between running and other athletic endeavors.

That is what I did today – a nice S.E.T. class (Strength Endurance Training) which is a combination step class and lift class. I will be sore tomorrow. I am considering going for my first run in about a week tomorrow to see where I am. Fingers crossed.

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4 Responses to Fourth Agreement

  1. BostonRunner says:

    Great topic! I think about this a lot lately. I feel like since I have started blogging, I’m comparing myself to other runners. Woman who have been running for longer than I’ve been alive, woman who ran in high school or college, etc. I have to continually remind myself that I am a beginner and I shouldn’t compare my progress or results to theirs. Instead, I should just be happy with how much I’ve accomplished and how far I’ve come. If you do your best that’s all that matters!

  2. great post. i’ve been thinking about this a lot and actually just posted something on a “sister topic” aka confidence

  3. good mantras… this is a post I am sure I will refer back to. new runner or old runner, it’s hard (for me anyway) to have that competitive fire but *not* get jealous. I’m still learning. And #2 and 3 especially resonate w/me for life in general. for someone who blogs I find communication remarkably difficult!

  4. Naomi says:

    Don’t you love how yoga also provides words of wisdom? Those are great words to live by! And no, you’re not the only one who has these thoughts…can’t wait to chat more about it on Sat!

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