In the book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz draws on the Toltecs' long legacy to show how we are domesticated from childhood, how these internal, guiding principles harm us, and what we can do to break them and replace them with a new set of agreements with ourselves. The Aztecs developed a highly effective agricultural system and laid the groundwork for what is now Mexico City. The Mayas are known for their extraordinarily accurate calendar, which is considered one of the new seven wonders of the world. The Toltecs are a culture that is rarely acknowledged but contains a great deal of wisdom. Don Miguel Ruiz, a Mexican surgeon and author who turned to spirituality following a near-fatal car accident, knows all about them.
From childhood, our environment domesticates us, leading us to live a life without reflection. There are many aspects of our lives over which we have no choice or control. The total of them is referred to as "domestication" by Don Miguel Ruiz. It's a lifelong process that begins the moment we're born. You don't get to choose your first language, your first school, or the views that your parents establish in you. Parents, peers, schools, and religion all influence us to follow a set of rules. We have no control over them as youngsters. When we do the right thing, we are rewarded, and when we don't, we get penalized. When you add this up over nearly two decades, you end up with someone who is seeking brownie points, frightened of rejection, and who doesn't question society's rules. The worst part of this collective dream, according to Ruiz, is that we eventually get so domesticated that we continue to perform it ourselves. You've seen this problem in action if you've ever broken a rule, such as missing a deadline, and then mentally chastised, judged, and blamed yourself.
Nothing people say or do to you is personal, but you must understand who you are in order to be alright with it. Never take anything personally is one of the new internal principles you should attempt to follow. Nothing that other people or the world say or do to you has anything to do with you. It speaks a lot more about them and their problems than it does about you when someone calls you unattractive. Whatever problems they're having have caused them to vent their anger on you. The only way to truly make this a habit, according to Ruiz, is to become extremely self-aware. You may stop seeking affirmation and acceptance if you know who you are, what your reality is, and that you're good enough.
You have three options for breaking previous agreements, freeing yourself, and making new ones. Can you see how strong a new agreement may be if you truly believe in it? There are a plethora of them just waiting to be discovered. However, in order to make such a significant adjustment, you must first break free from the constraints of your old, domesticated system.