The first of don Miguel Luiz' Four Agreements is to "Be impeccable with your word", and I have found myself thinking about this almost every day since I read the book. Mostly because, in my opinion, this Agreement is one of the most difficult to achieve.
- Of behavior, performance, or appearance in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.
- "a man of impeccable character"
synonyms: flawless, faultless, unblemished, spotless, immaculate, pristine, stainless, perfect, exemplary
- Theology: rare; not liable to sin.
The idea is to refrain from inflicting pain on others through careful and deliberate delivery - of our thoughts, opinions, directives, advice. Once our words are said, they are then out in the world and most immediately absorbed by whoever they've been served to. There's no reversing or retracting them. And if those words are hurtful, all the worse.
So it's no small feat then, to be impeccable with our word but I am wholeheartedly subscribed to the importance of trying, which I continue to do through my mindfulness practice and overall gusto toward self-awesomeness!
Why then do I feel like I fail time and again, being impeccable with my word? With my husband, my kids, girlfriends, my parents. Thoughts and feelings rush into my mind and BOOM! out they come, only partially formed and unfiltered. Especially if the words I toss out cast a spell on my listener, forcing them to accept or reject as truth whatever declaration I've made.
"C'mon, Jaime, you can do better than that."
"Don't you think it's weird the boys always come to me when they need help, before going to you?
"Wow, Quinn, you sure have a lot to say, don't you?"
If Jaime takes the bait and believes he's not doing well enough; if Mike accepts that the boys favor me over him; if Quinn subscribes to the idea that he talks too much - well then my spell has been cast, whether I like it or not.
Luiz calls this misuse of the word, "black magic", which to me seems aptly named. Just as "pure magic" beautifully describes positive and inspiring use of our word. I like the idea that our word is so powerful, it is magic, and that we are true magicians in using it - with impeccability or not.
Going into the new year, I have many dreams and goals, and this First Agreement of Luiz' is on the top of my list. I think because it's an intention that not only serves me, but everyone in my life - everywhere, all the time. Like many other things I'm focused on right now, respect of my word at this level will take a good deal of self-awareness I'm still working to obtain, but I'm up for the challenge.
Plus, who wouldn't love to be a magician?