How to Break Bad Agreements

September 22, 2019

Categories: Agreements

This post is Part 2 in a 3-part blog series on agreements. (If you missed the first post, you can find it here.)

Becoming aware of the bad agreements we keep is the first step. After all, we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. But after we become aware of a bad agreement we are keeping, how do we change it? How do we break bad agreements?

4 Steps to Break a Bad Agreement

Don Miguel Ruiz writes that breaking bad agreements is one of the most difficult things to do. We have spent our entire lives building up and supporting the bad agreements we keep with ourselves. Ruiz writes that it will take the energy of a spiritual warrior to break the negative agreements we have made with ourselves. Here are four steps you could take today to break the bad agreements you have made:

  1. Face your fears. The primary emotion supporting the bad agreements we make with ourselves is fear. For example, maybe I tell myself I am unlovable or I don’t have what it takes, so I hold back from fully engaging in work or relationships. The fear underlying this agreement is it might be true. I don’t want to find out the agreement might actually be true. So I hold back and play the victim. The spiritual warrior faces each of their fears, one by one, countering each bad agreement with a different experience.
  2. Forgive. As humans, we have a tendency to hold on to emotional pain because it supports the bad agreements we have made with ourselves. Instead, we must take a ruthless approach to forgive everyone in our lives who has hurt us. We must forgive our parents. We must forgive our siblings. We must forgive our friends. We must forgive our religion. Finally, we must forgive ourselves. You know you have forgiven when you can think about the person or situation and feel at peace.
  3. View life through the lens of death. What would you do if you went to the doctor and found out you had a life-threatening disease, and only had six months to live? How would you live your life? What would you do, how would you be, if you only had six days to live? What if you only had six hours? In the face of death, what is unimportant falls away, leaving the authentic version of yourself.
  4. Replace bad agreements with new agreements. When you break bad agreements, there is empty space. If you don’t fill up the empty space, the bad agreements tend to come back. A better strategy is to replace bad agreements with different agreements. In my next post, I will talk about four agreements for a good life, full of joy and love.


What is one bad agreement you have made with yourself, that causes you pain and suffering? What is one step you could take this week to begin to break the power of the bad agreement in your life?

Click here to read Part 3: Four Agreements for a Good Life


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  1. […] In Part 2 of the blog series, I talked about how to break bad agreements. […]

  2. […] Click here to read Part 2: How to Break Bad Agreements […]

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