Don Miguel Ruiz wrote “The Four Agreements” many years ago, but it remains a self-help staple. One of the many reasons that this text has resonated with millions of people around the world is that the four straightforward recommendations that the book offers can bring peace in times of chaos and uncertainty. If you are going through a divorce, you may either find comfort in the self-help section of your local bookstore or you may avoid it like the plague. Whatever your approach, the agreements outlined in this text may help you navigate your divorce with more peace and dignity.
Please understand that these agreements are straightforward, but that does not mean that they are easy to implement. However, trying to approach your former spouse and any other adults affected by your divorce with these agreements in mind can leave you less emotionally drained than you otherwise might be. Given that you need a great deal of emotional energy simply to attend to the process, it is important to guard it in healthy ways when you can.
The first agreement you may choose to make during your divorce is to be impeccable with your word. In essence, you will benefit from using your words to support your values, to support yourself, and to honor the truth. Accepting this agreement can help you avoid slinging around hurtful words that may leave you full of regret later.
The second agreement is to avoid taking things that others do personally. “What?” you may be yelling at your computer screen. After all, few processes in life are as personal as divorce. But even though your divorce is certainly personal for you, you do not have to take any hurtful words or actions thrown at you as evidence of your shortcomings. Instead, understand that whoever is acting out is doing so primarily because they are hurt, angry or negative, not necessarily because you have done anything to deserve that treatment. Accepting this agreement will again hopefully leave you more room to heal instead of taking time to internalize and possess the anger of those around you.
The final two agreements are perhaps the most straightforward and easy to apply. First, do not make assumptions, and second, always do your best. Both of these pieces of advice will almost assuredly serve you well during the divorce process.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Don’t Take Your Divorce Personally,” Lisa Arends, Dec. 30, 2013