Every person that is capable of showing love is worthy of being loved back, yet sometimes we sometimes find ourselves in situations where we think we don’t deserve someone else’s affection.
One of the reasons that we may feel that way, is guilt — with or without intention we sometimes hurt the people we care for, and if they still love us in spite of everything, the guilt we carry might make us feel unworthy of their love.
However, that feeling of unworthiness usually has to do a lot with the way we perceive ourselves. If we feel inferior, don’t accept and love ourselves for who we are, how can anyone else do it?
Even when we find someone who “sees” us and still loves us, we’re likely to push them away. Since everyone else around us is so much better in all aspects, why would they waste their time with us? Moreover, we tacitly accept others to treat us with less respect than we deserve.
In 1997, Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills published a self-help book called The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the book teaches its readers how to overcome societal indoctrination and reach happiness by eliminating self-limiting beliefs that may cause suffering in their lives.
The Four Agreements can help us achieve our full potential by getting rid of all the strict rules we are taught as children and, at the same time, remove the weight of other people’s expectations of us.
If you manage to do this, you’ll reach a high level of self-acceptance, understanding, and return to love by healing your relationship with yourself.
So what are The Four Agreements you must know if you don’t think you deserve love?
1.Be impeccable with your word
The first agreement teaches us to be impeccable with our word. The words we choose are powerful and we should never use them against ourselves or others. Whatever you think of yourself can either liberate or enslave you, and being impeccable with your internal language means not judging or blaming yourself.
How many times have you told yourself that you are not good, strong or beautiful enough? The more you make such affirmations, the more you program yourself to believe them. You’re basically making an agreement and choose to stick by it.
But what if you gave yourself a pep talk every now and then? Your words will transform the way you think and also how others see you. You are good enough and you are worthy of whatever you can achieve, especially of the things or relationships you already have.
2. Don’t take anything personally
The second agreement states that we shouldn’t take things personally. Instead, we should learn how to become less defensive and more detached.
People can often be rude to us and when that happens, we have the tendency to constantly repeat their words in our heads. When you take a mean comment personally, you’re practically admitting to believing in it.
It means that you agree with what the other person said and their thoughts become your own — only when you take it personally, it becomes true.
When you have a strong sense of yourself, you won’t even think to take other people’s mean words into consideration because you know it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. You know your worth so your potential will not be reflected in their personal opinions.
3. Don’t make assumptions
The third agreement teaches us that assumptions should be replaced with questions instead. It’s not an easy thing to do, but in this way we’re more likely to get the right answers.
More than often, we have the tendency to make negative assumptions, whether they’re about ourselves or others. Maybe you’ve told yourself at some point something like “He/she will never love me”. This might’ve been just a negative presumption that served as a shield to protect you from pain or rejection.
We sometimes jump to conclusions without any real evidence and become the victims of our own thoughts. Also, by making assumptions about others, we only project our own beliefs onto them.
Just because we presume something, it doesn’t mean that we know it to be true for sure. If we’d replace assumptions with questions, we’ll soon see that, in reality, our initial perspective can mean something else entirely.
4. Always do your best
The reason why this agreement is so important, is because it applies to everything. Think about it, if you want to achieve a goal, you cannot be lazy and half ass it.
When you are always striving to do your best, no matter what we’re talking about–school, work, parenting, fitness–your chances of success drastically increase.
Doing your best means that you will never feel dissatisfied. When you know you have given something your best, there can be no regret or guilt associated to the situation. You can avoid being harder on yourself. Instead, you are freeing yourself from the pressure of not being good enough.
If you do your best, not only are you are more likely to achieve goals, but you will also avoid criticism from what Ruiz calls your internal Judge.John A. Johnson in Psychology Today
A lot in relationships is beyond your control. What you can control is how you behave. When you do your best, you know that if a relationship doesn’t work out, it’s because it was not the right fit for you.
To sum up…
The key message of The Four Agreements is that by using the wisdom of the agreements, it’s possible to break the often detrimental societal rules that ultimately shape our thinking and stop us from finding ourselves.
Our thoughts can be our worst enemy. In his book, Don Miguel Ruiz offers us great tools to take a step forward and heal our relationship with ourselves and others.
You begin with yourself because by reshaping your perspectives according to these agreements, you’ll love, trust and respect yourself more.
By cultivating self-love, you no longer live your life according to other people’s opinions or expectations. You already know who you are and when your relationship with yourself is based on love, you’ll command nothing less.
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