Don Miguel Ruiz wrote The Four Agreements in 1997. This best selling book inspires people to change their lives with just four easy ideas. The first is be impeccable with your word. I love this. It embodies so many things: honesty, integrity, sticking to values, honoring others, healthy boundaries, and creating love.
The first part of this is speak with integrity. This means to be whole and undivided. This requires that you be clear within yourself, doesn’t it? Your mind, body, and spirit speaking in unity. Can you imagine how many unnecessary fears, doubts, and attacks would remain unsaid if we all did this?
Why? Well, your feelings may be hurt because you are either living in the past or anticipating an unfavorable future. But what if your head is in the now and can see that nothing dangerous is happening right now? You’d have to reconcile that before you said a word, wouldn’t you? What do you think would happen if you did that? I’d guess that 99% of the time, the fear would dissipate. Then you could get to a space of integrity. Don’t you think your words would be a better reflection of reality then?
The second part is say only what you mean. Have you ever talked to someone who can see all sides of the picture so they talk about everything? You may have a greater understanding of the topic, but you don’t know where they stand. Or maybe someone speaks from the emotion of the moment, then feels something else later. So you don’t know if their truth is what they said yesterday or what they said today. Or perhaps someone speaks in such vague language that they haven’t committed to anything.
All these are examples of avoiding sharing the truth. It’s not enough to be unified within yourself. You have to share it. Part of knowing who we are comes from seeing ourselves reflected back to us in others. If we don’t let what’s inside shine, they won’t see us. We won’t know ourselves. So walk your walk. Talk your talk. Whatever it is. Be bold enough to let it out.
The third part is to avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. If you feel that you or someone else is worthless, don’t share that! Whoa. Didn’t I just say walk your walk? Am I contradicting myself now?
No. Remember the first part says “speak with integrity.” There is no way that your head, heart, and body could believe such negativity about yourself or others. You may feel that someone was rude. That is a description of his behavior, not who he is as a person. Often, when you can see the difference between the two, you can let it go without judgment. So it’s gone before the thought even registers. So let it go. It’s not worth noting.
Fourth, use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. This is another reason to avoid speaking against yourself and others. It’s not loving. What you speak into the world manifests. If you want a loving world, and who doesn’t, speak loving things.
Some people are afraid to be loving because they fear others won’t respect it. People respond to your expectations. When I was a dance teacher, I taught beginners moves that were really advanced techniques. I knew this, but they didn’t. I treated them like they were capable of it, so they didn’t know any different. Since they didn’t know they couldn’t execute the movements, they did them. If you’ve ever seen four year olds reciting Shakespeare, you know it’s the same for all people. Show people truth and love. Expect it back from them. Together we will create a lovely world just by making this one change.
When you practice being impeccable with your word, you have to align your mind, body, and spirit. You have to stick with your values. You have to share yourself. This requires honesty, integrity, self-respect, and other respect. It’s such a wonderful thing to do for yourself and others.