There are a few things I’m guilty of being overly dramatic about. Probably the most ridiculously obvious of these things is being hungry. Even when I’m not eight months pregnant, I’m basically a toddler when I’m hungry. I get cranky and, when I get really hungry, I feel sick. So I know I’m guilty of saying “I’m so hungry I feel like I could throw up.” Sadly, I never really thought about how overly dramatic it sounds until now.
Tonight while climbing in the car my four year old announced out of the blue “I’m going to throw up.” A combination of mommy instinct and observation skills led me to ask, “Are you really going to throw up or are you just hungry?” The reply was, of course, “I’m hungry.”
The car ride that followed was spent in deep discussion of how saying that you’re going to throw up doesn’t necessarily let people know that you’re hungry. It can, in fact, be misleading about what you really mean; thus, it would be better to simply say what you mean.
Which reminded me of one of my favorite things I’ve ever read called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The first agreement is to “be impeccable with your word”. In other words, say what you mean, and mean what you say. There are a million ways I try to teach this to my daughter, but to have it broken down into the simplest possible intention is… inspiring. It reminds me that sometimes the most complicated things to teach are actually the simples.
The rest of the agreements share a similar gift of simplicity. The Four Agreements 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.
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.
(Read more here: http://www.toltecspirit.com)
They are big lessons, presented in simple language. And with all the things there are to teach a child these days, I’m all for borrowing the simplest form whenever possible.