This book by Don Miguel Ruiz, a Toltec shaman, has come up several times here. I recommend it highly. I am trying to learn to live by the agreements as Don Miguel describes them:
1. Be impeccable with your word.
This is about more than not lying; it is about complete integrity, recognizing the power of words - especially you own words, and (here is the hardest part for me) - never gossiping. I mean, I like to think of myself as being forthright, and saying what I mean, but sometimes keeping one's word is about keeping quiet.
2. Don't take anything personally.
This one is about realizing that nothing other people say is really about you, even when they are talking about you - it is really about them
, and their own hang-ups, so you have to let is slide. I'm getting better at that one, but sometimes I slide backwards there, too.
3. Don't make assumptions
I had a therapist teach me this one a long time ago. It is not my job to have to guess what other people mean by what they say, or to try and figure out what they need. Ask questions to clarify if you need to, but don't let the indignation of somebody else get to you. That's about them.
4. Always do your best.
This one is about your
best, not somebody else's idea of best, and you best can vary from day to day and circumstance to circumstance. You don't have to live up to some perfect ideal. Just do what you can with whatever you are facing at a given moment. If it has been a long day and you are tired, your best will probably not be the same as it was when you got up fresh that morning.
Totally oversimplified. Get the book. It's a little bitty book, and very inexpensive.