The five agreements mentioned in Miguel’s book are; Be Impeccable with Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best and lastly, Be Skeptical, But Learn To Listen. The fifth agreement is mostly about self discovery and about tolerance of other people’s views. Miguel asserts the fact that while most people have a tendency to stick rigidly to their beliefs; it turns into a hostile situation if those beliefs are assailed candidly. One needs to be patient and receptive in their approach and learn to deal with the matter more conscientiously and justifiably. Unless one listens and understands where the other person is coming from, comfortable and constructive communication cannot take place.
There is a metaphor in the English language that pertains to, giving people the benefit of doubt. This means, you cannot dismiss someone’s perspective as outmoded or archaic unless you give him an opportunity to prove you wrong. This staunch belief in people helps clear misunderstandings. By merely being skeptic, we are tacitly prohibiting ourselves from comprehending someone’s point of view. Instead of empathizing, we move beyond the emotional theatrics and disregard someone’s feelings of victimization.
The Fifth Agreement spans man’s journey towards self mastery. Miguel mentions this in his text,
. Let’s say you’re living with guilt and shame for a mistake you made ten years ago. The excuse for your suffering is, “I made a terrible mistake,” and you’re still suffering for something that happened ten years ago, but the truth is you’re suffering from something that happened ten seconds ago. You judged yourself again for the same mistake, and of course the big judge says, “You need to be punished.” It’s simple action-reaction. The action is self-judgment; the reaction is self punishment in the form of guilt and shame. All your life you repeat the same action, hoping to have a different reaction and it never happens. The only way to change your life is to change the action, and then the reaction will change. (Miguel, 2009)
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