My dear friend, Scott Brown, introduced me to The Four Agreements in December of 2018. At the time, we were both part of the Dad Edge Alliance and after interacting a bit group discussion, I knew we needed to talk.
To describe the conversation as life-changing is to undersell it. The greatest impact comes from our ongoing conversation about The Four Agreements.
When we talked my second wife was days away from moving out. She was no longer able to bare the constant threat of emotional or sexual infidelity, my inability to be honest about anything potentially shaming, and the push-pull emotional yo-yo fueled by my disorganized attachment. I was not safe. She was right to leave.
My Life Since Embracing The Four Agreements
- Be Impeccable With Your Word: Oddly, this agreement came easier than most, even though it is one I historically have huge issues with. However, earlier in December of 2018 I finally told my parents that my preschool teacher sexually abused me. In doing so, I broke free from an emotional bondage to her words, “You can’t tell anyone.” For I honored those words and hid anything potentially shaming. Not anymore.
- Don’t Take Anything Personally: It is not easy to write the words that are on this page. I confess some dark and ugly truths and post them for the world to see. How do I express them without crippling fear about how you as a reader will respond? Because I know that how you respond says more about you than it does about me.
- Don’t Make Assumptions: For decades I operated from shame, so I interpreted everything others said and did as an attack. Often, this is still my initial response, but I am learning to ask questions and gain clarification. When I do, I discover how wrong my assumptions are. My hope is that, in time, I will just ask clarifying questions and skip the assumption part.
- Always Do Your Best: Beyond the invitation to do my best, this agreement invites compassion towards myself and others. It is an invitation to realize that the vast majority of people are doing their best given their present circumstances and the tools they have at their disposal. Now, they might have horrible tools or not know how to use them, but they are doing their best with them. So the goal becomes to learn how to use the tools you have or find better tools. The Four Agreements is one of my best tools for navigating life.
How might these simple agreements change your life?
Note on the Dad Edge Alliance
My comments above are not an endorsement of the Dad Edge Alliance. I value they year and a half I spent in the group. The relationships I formed there remain valuable to me. However, I ultimately found a focus on doing over being, which means the monthly tactical agendas and other content ultimately clashed with my understanding of the life Christ calls me into (there’s more on this life in my ebook, Connecting the Dots of the Bible).
Six months after leaving, I am still looking for the men’s group for me. Currently I am engaging in a six-week group led by one of the men from Colorado’s chapter of Illuman.