don Miguel Ruiz
There are two kinds of boundaries we use when dealing with
people--the boundaries we use when we don't have awareness, and the
boundaries we use when we do have awareness. Usually we create
boundaries in places where we can be hurt. We have emotional wounds
in our minds, and if someone touches our wounds we have emotional
pain. To feel safe in our interactions with people, we put
boundaries around every emotional wound. These boundaries create a
box that restricts us. When we heal the emotional mind, we no longer
have those wounds, and the boundaries disappear. When they
disappear, we create a new set of boundaries--this time with
The second set of boundaries we create is because of other people's
wounds, so we don't allow other people to give us their emotional
When we are young, we play with other children to have fun, not to
insult them or to give them our poison. As adults, we also want to
have relationships that we enjoy. We don't want poison like anger,
jealousy, or envy. We don't want each other's garbage. When get
together, it's because we want to share our love and our joy.
When we are no longer wounded, and we are in a relationship, we can
put up boundaries to restrict another's poison. We call that
We don't want to have relationships that are disrespectful to us.
For example, if I am in a relationship with someone and that person
tries to control me, I can tell them, "Okay this is the limit. Don't
cross this limit. You can be with me or not, but if you stay with me
don't try to control me. Give me my space, and I will give you your
space. I deal with my garbage, you deal with your garbage. If you
are cranky, I will give you space. You can be cranky, it's okay,
there's nothing personal. I respect you, and I want respect also. If
you don't respect me, I will not stay with you and it doesn't mean
that I don't love you, no… I love you. But if I'm not being
respected, I will leave and you can be with someone who is the way
you want them to be."
We can create acceptable boundaries with people whose emotional
poison we do not want to eat. When we respect ourselves, we will not
allow disrespect from anybody else. This is not selfishness, it's
self-love. The controlling aspect is selfishness--wanting a partner
to stay with us even if we are in hell. If we go into relationships
because, "Oh I need you so much," it's selfishness, not self-love.
We need to understand that self-love is completely different from
selfishness. Self-love come from integrity. We recognize our
integrity through our feelings. The feelings we have are real. If we
don't feel good it's because something is not right. If we feel
anger, we know that something is not right. If we feel envy or
jealousy, something is not right. Jealousy is not bad, anger is not
bad either. These emotions are telling us when something is not
Repressing emotions is not the answer…to change the cause of the
emotions is the answer. If we feel anger or jealousy, we have to
take one step back to see what is causing those emotions. If we
change the cause, the affect also will change.
A love relationship should be based in respect. And that's why we
put boundaries on our relationships. The boundary is not, "Don't
touch me because I can get hurt." The boundary is a way to have
someone show respect. We don't want their anger or their judgment.
Relationships can be so wonderful. We can be completely open and
loving. But just because we love someone, that doesn't mean we have
to put up with their anger, jealousy or abuse. We don't need to be
abused, and we can't send out our abuse either.
This is a way of having relationships
based in love. A selfish relationship is not based in
love. " I love you if you let me control you. I love you
if you do whatever I want you to do. If you are not the
way I want you to be, then I won't love you." This is
not love. "I will stay with you even if you abuse me,
even if you mistreat me." That is not love either. How
can we love if we don't love ourselves?
With self-love and self-respect life can be completely different. We
can make life easy or we can make it difficult. The only one who
suffers or enjoys the consequences is us. If we have children, and
something happens to them then yes, we feel emotional pain.
Sometimes we can get sick, and be cranky, why not? But it's not
personal. We don't have to give our poison to anybody else.
Life can be a playground. We can create new habits and routines that
are automatic and lead us to happiness, and to the enjoyment of
life. We can play and have fun most of the time, and be loving all
the time, for no reason. We don't need any justification to love. It
just feels good. Love coming out of us is what makes life happy.
Copyright © 2000 don Miguel Ruiz. Reprinted by
don Miguel Ruiz was born into a family of
healers and raised in rural Mexico by a curandera
(healer) mother and nagual (shaman) grandfather. The
family anticipated don Miguel would embrace their
centuries old legacy of healing and teaching and as
a nagual, carry forward the esoteric Toltec
knowledge. Instead, distracted by modern life, don
Miguel chose to attend medical school and later
teach and practice as a surgeon.
A near death experience brought his wake-up call. I saw that I existed
separate from my body. So I asked myself, if I am not this body, what am I?
Don Miguel's survival allowed him the opportunity to begin freeing himself
from his limiting belief system. He devoted himself to the mastery of the
ancestral wisdom by studying intensely with his mother and completing an
apprenticeship with a powerful shaman in the Mexican desert. His
grandfather, who had since passed on, continued to teach him in his dreams.
Don Miguel's work has evolved in preparation for the recent emergence of the
Sixth Sun of the Mayan Calendar, prophesied by the ancients to be an
extraordinary period of personal and planetary change. In the tradition of
the Toltec, a nagual guides an individual to personal freedom. Combining new
insights with old wisdom, don Miguel teaches that the path to personal
freedom is the first step of a progression. The ultimate goal is to change
the collective dream of the planet.
To that end, don Miguel has written The Four Agreements, a New York
Times best seller, published by Amber-Allen in November 1997,
The Mastery of Love, published by Amber-Allen in May 1999, and The
Four Agreements Companion Book, published by Amber-Allen in October