THESE FOUR DEALS THAT YOU CAN MAKE WITH YOURSELF WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE EVERYTHING. Who hasn't felt like they were being unfairly judged?  Let (s)he among us who has never made a rash mistake in judgment cast the first proverbial stone!  I see there are no hands in the air  Yes, I can see through my screen, but that's another blog for another day.  This space right here is dedicated to The Four Agreements. Author don Miguel Ruiz crafted an impeccably simple guide for navigating through life when he wrote this little book. The approach that is laid out in this book so simple that it's scary to think how difficult we make life.   Essentially there are four agreements that we need to make with ourselves:1. Be impeccable with your word.2. Don't take anything personally.3. Don't make assumptions.4. Always do your best.       When I was the Director of Arts Education for a non-profit based in Los Angeles, I worked with teens in grades 9-12.  Our facility had computers that were made available to the students each day after school.  I decided to set the password for each computer to "AlwaysDoYourBest".  Imagine how that phrase sinks into your mind if you have to type it everyday.  Imagine the sweet joy it brought me to hear a student ask for the password and another student would shout back across the room, "Always do your best".   See, for me, this agreement held the most weight.  I felt that if I do this on a daily basis, and I can get the people around me to do this,  then the other agreements would be easier to keep. Stay with me as I explain how. In order to not make assumptions you have to ask questions.  This can be intimidating in an unfamiliar setting.  It's even harder when you are the person that everyone expects to have it all together.  However, in striving to always do your best, you realize that you need as much information as possible to make the decisions that will set you up for success. This approach is similar to old adage of "measure twice, cut once".   This also means that you can't attempt to decipher what a person means.  If you're confused, ask.  If someone says, "Good Morning" and you don't understand, then go ahead and ask them what they mean by good.  Okay, that's kind of funny.  I would giggle just a little if someone asked me that.  But don't let that stop you from getting the clarity you need.  Don't make assumptions so that you can always do your best. You smile at someone on the street and they look down or barely return the gesture.  Your first impulse may be to get upset and pass all sorts of judgments, decide they are rude, etc.   Before you let your imagination wander to the bad side, put on your empathy armour and walk a second in their shoes.  Maybe they just ended an overnight shift after being on their feet for ten hours.  Perhaps their bills are piling up and there is no solution in sight for them.  The bottom line is their failure to return a beaming smile has nothing to do with you.  Neither do the millions of other thoughts and small doings that people perform on a daily basis. Don't take anything personal.  Doing so only takes away time from you always doing your best. Finally, and this is super important for you to always remember. The words we speak have power.  Words are magical and as sure you can curse someone out you can bless them up.  Too often we feel that all silence needs to filled, but allow yourself to think before you speak.  Because once those words are out of your mouth there is nothing you can do.  Apologies don't erase it and you can't literally take it back.  Your words represents you and you are on a mission to always do your best, so be impeccable with your word. I encourage you to gift yourself a copy of The Four Agreements by don Miquel Ruiz, find a quiet space to take it all in and promise yourself that you will always do your best. Love, HeavenNezCree