Doing Our Own Work

July 7, 2009 at 6:57 pm Leave a comment

Girls Circle and The Council are about relationships.

Relationships are at the core of our mission, our daily work, our writings and our interactions.

And like others with a similar passion, we choose to do what it takes as much as we can, as well as we can, to keep our relationships healthy.

Sometimes we may have a personal matter or a concern with a co-worker, colleague, or client that requires us to reach down deep and do our own internal work so that we can bring the best we’ve got to the relationship.

There’s a book that comes into my mind very often, especially when I feel challenged by someone’s behavior – The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.  This little book provides four guiding principles that represent central teachings of the Toltec people of ancient Mexico.  These are: Be Impeccable with Your Word; Don’t Take Anything Personally; Don’t Make Assumptions; and Always Do Your Best.

You know which one is tough for me when I get hurt or offended?  “Don’t Take Anything Personally.”
For example, recently one of my relatives made a comment that stung.  Now, for me, this guiding principle doesn’t mean I don’t feel the sting, but it does remind me that what was said may not have been intended to sting me.  The truth is we really don’t know people’s intentions.  We can attempt to talk it out, which is sometimes a great choice.  We can attempt to “let it go,” which is sometimes a really smart way to move on.  Sometimes, we need to look at our own behavior too – whether it is something we did to contribute to the issue, or an internal way we choose to view the matter.

I’m not super skilled at these guiding principles, but I really appreciate them.  They’re easy to memorize, and I can’t really see a way to go wrong by using them.  They provide me with a way to stay focused on doing my best to honor relationships and support healthy connections, and they fit well with every major spiritual tradition.

Although I don’t recall bringing this book to any particular Girls Circle session for discussion, I have shared it with many teens in individual sessions and many have found it helpful.

If you have a favorite book, tool, or practice that supports you in your relationship work, we always love to hear about it!

Best wishes in your relationships and your work this week!

~Beth

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