Be Impeccable with Your Word
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.
Do any of you remember that charming little childhood chant? It was meant to ward off the cruel verbal taunts we received from other children. Sometimes kids can be very harsh with their teasing. Sometimes adults can be very harsh with their words too. And the above childhood chant, well sometimes it may have helped you but most of the time it
You see words are a very powerful tool. Expressing our thoughts as words is one of the strongest powers we possess as human beings. And when you think about what you really own and what you really control in life, it all comes back to you. You own your thoughts; you own your behaviors and your words express your thoughts. In fact what you say compared to what you actually do is one of the ways in which people form an opinion about the real you. Your words versus your actions indicate your character. Think about that person you know, the one who always says, Oh sure I will see you at the barbecue this weekend. But right away you discount what they say because you know they always say they will show up and they never actually do show up.
In his book ‘The Four Agreements’, Don Miguel Ruiz suggests to us that the first of the four agreements he shares with us is also the most important agreement. That agreement is be impeccable with your word. Your word has force, it has strength it has power. And it is your responsibility to use your words carefully and to consider the words you choose to accept and believe from others. The words of other people can have power over you as well.
The agreement to be impeccable with your word can be approached from three separate yet equally important parameters:
1) Say what you are going to do and do what you say. Your word defines you. When someone says, Oh yes, Victor his word is good, if he tells you he will take care of that issue, you can consider it resolved. That means that you all know that Victor is good as (or better than) his word. For some of you this is easy and straightforward. For some of you it is not. You see this also means when you mean no, you say no. You don’t say maybe or sure or I will see what I can do. It means when you do not know, you say I don’t know. And for many reasons many of you feel compelled to say what you perceive are the right things to say or what you think someone else wants to hear as opposed to saying what you really mean. Saying what you mean or say what you are going to do and do what you say is NOT an excuse to say deliberately hurtful things to others. Read on to see the second aspect of being impeccable with your word to see why this is true.
2) Do not use your words to hurt others, to lash out in anger or to seek revenge. Because your words do carry power, you need to be mindful of what you say to others and about others. In ‘The Four Agreements’, Don Miguel Ruiz discusses gossip. Gossip is a powerful and truly unjust use of words. When you spread rumors and gossip about others for the sake of entertainment or because you think it makes you look important you are NOT being impeccable with your word. When you say something nasty to someone because you are in a bad mood or because you decided that they needed to be taken down a peg, you are NOT being impeccable with your word. When you lash out in anger and say something to deliberately hurt someone else you are NOT being impeccable with your word.
3) Do not make agreements based on the false or negative words of others. When others use the power of their words to tell you are not smart enough or not good enough or that you can’t sing or you are not good looking they are not being impeccable with their words. Guess what? If you decide to accept their negative words, then you are making an agreement with yourself that you are not smart enough or good looking or fill in the blank and YOU are NOT being impeccable with your word. The power of your word includes the power of how you use your words either for yourself or against yourself. To be impeccable with your word means that you do not accept the poison that comes from others when they use their words improperly. You have a responsibility to accept yourself and honor yourself and use your own internal words for good. You cannot control what others are going to say; you can control how you receive their words and what you do with those words once they reach your ears.
Do you see the power of your word? Your word possesses the ability to support yourself and others or to tear each other down. When you agree to speak (or write) the words that really represent you and to avoid using words to harm others and to reject the harmful words of others, you are being impeccable with your word.