When I was five years old, my mother passed away suddenly of a heart attack in her 40s. Growing up without my mother certainly posed its challenges so I always thought about everything. I would over-think situations and my whole life was a series of unanswered questions. I was a very worried little girl. I worried that my father would also die and I would be an orphan.
I grew up very poor and often did not have necessities like a winter coat or boots. My dad did the best he could although I was challenged to grow up quickly without a mom. As a child, when many of my friends had dance, swimming or other extracurricular activities, I was cooking and cleaning. I was a shy, insecure little girl who was always scared of everything around me. However, I was extremely mature for my age and always had a plan to change the future outcomes of my unfortunate loss.
My focus became to create a better future for myself. Always motivated to reach this goal, I did well in school which allowed me to accomplish it and so much more. I was always reading books and continuing to learn. I put myself through college and owned my own business. I have been truly grateful to provide more to my son than what I had growing up. I still love to read and find many life experiences relate to “ah-ha” moments for me. One of the books I’ve incorporated into my life is “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz. The Four Agreements has become part of my daily routine. Simply put, these “agreements” I choose to utilize every day. The Four Agreements are:
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
While each one can be challenging at times, they work well together. To be impeccable with your word also means to not speak against yourself or others. I find this to be difficult as I am hard on myself. Don’t take anything personally is ensuring you understand that nothing others do is because of you. My mother didn’t die because of me. At 5 years old I didn’t really realize this. It is important to understand this or you will truly worry about everything around you like I did growing up. If you ask questions and express your wants and needs you are likely to live by not making assumptions. And finally, always doing your best may change from day-to-day. Doing my best may be doing better than I did yesterday. Or going above and beyond and really feeling accomplished. It is important not to compare because some days are awesome and others maybe simply be good. There’s always going to be bad days, but how you handle it is what makes the difference.
Keeping these agreements at the forefront of my life has shown me that although there may always be unanswered questions, focusing on what you can answer and what is right in front of you helps. My father passed away about 10 years ago and being an orphan was still scary as an adult. Maybe I grew up at a disadvantage in some areas, but I used my experience to my benefit. I believe these experiences had a positive impact in my life. I am truly grateful for where I am today and how I got here. It is always important to remember where you come from in order figure out where you want to go!