I would like to analyze the first of Don Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements, Be Impeccable With Your Word and how it can relate to everyday situations.
Your word is all you have. It might be cliché but it is as true of a statement as there is. What comes out of your mouth, whether or not you mean it or truly believe it, is permanent. It can’t ever be taken back or redone.
No one knows this more than me. I must admit that there have been more than a few instances in my life where I said hurtful and even mean-spirited things to others. Even though I knew these things were wrong to say I somehow was unable to prevent myself from saying them. My punishment was living with the regret and pain immediately after the words came erupting out like lava from a volcano. Being impeccable in the moment arms you with the ability to comprehend what you are saying.
For this reason it is imperative that you are impeccable with your word. That means your word should be unblemished, flawless, and precise. The things you say should be a representation of who you are, what you believe in, etc. The words that come out of your mouth need to mean something to you and whomever else is influenced by them.
How you do practice being impeccable with your word? Clearly you must think before you speak. You shouldn’t just say things just because you can. If you carry the perspective that every time you speak you afford yourself the opportunity to portray the kind of person you are, I am certain that you would take the time to ensure you are speaking with the highest esteem towards yourself and others. Rather than simply spewing thoughts that pop into your head, analyze your words and scrutinize whom they could affect positively or negatively before proceeding.
It is also important to remember that you already know everything you are going to say. You are the creator of what you say so obviously you know the words that are going to flow from your mouth. As the Dalai Lama so poignantly puts it, “when you talk, you are already repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” So being impeccable with your word means being an active listener as well. This provides you the time to really decide if what you want to say is truly worth it.
Perhaps the old adage that says if you can’t say something nice about someone than don’t say anything at all is appropriate. The next time a friend wants to dish or gossip, or even slander someone else or you really want to say something nasty to a coworker, take a moment to think before you speak. What are you gaining from ripping on this person? Does it really make you feel good? Is this kind of verbal bashing what you stand for?