By Don Miguel Ruiz
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Additional resources for The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery
The only thing you know about them is what you believe about them. You only know the image you created for them, and that image has nothing to do with the real people. You thought that you knew your parents, your spouse, your children, and your friends very well. The truth is you have no idea what is going on in their world — what they are thinking, what they are feeling, what they are dreaming. What is even more surprising is that you thought you knew yourself. Then you come to the conclusion that you don’t even know yourself, because you’ve been acting for so long that you’ve mastered pretending to be what you are not.
We need to be this way; we shouldn’t be that way — and because it’s not okay for us to be what we are, we start pretending to be what we are not. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough, and we start searching for something that we call perfection. In our search, we form an image of perfection, the way we wish to be, but we know that we are not, and we begin to judge ourselves for that. We don’t like ourselves, and we tell ourselves, “Look how silly you look, how ugly you are.
Years later, my son, don Jose, started to share the same teachings with a group of students, and he succeeded where I had failed. Maybe the reason don Jose was successful was because he had complete faith in sharing the message. His very presence spoke the truth and challenged the beliefs of the people who attended his classes. He made a huge difference in their lives. Don Jose Ruiz has been my apprentice since he was a child, since he learned to speak. In this book, I am honored to introduce my son, and to present the essence of the teachings we delivered together over a period of seven years.