The first and most profound of don Miguel’s Four Agreements is Be Impeccable with Your Word…
While this seems fairly straight forward it takes on many subtle and profound aspects as you begin to practice. Very simply to be impeccable with your Word is to use your Word in the direction of love and truth. It’s not as simple as it sounds.
How we apply this agreement in practice can be complicated. For instance, suppose we have a good friend and are friends with their spouse as well. We’ve found out that the spouse is cheating on our friend. It is in the direction of truth to tell our friend that their partner is cheating on them. On the other hand delivering the message and facts is not very kind and loving and will hurt their feelings. It also might not be considered very respectful to inject our nose into the business of other people’s relationship. In these critical situations being impeccable with your word can appear to go either way.
It is also possible that a person can bend the meaning of Being Impeccable in order to fit their agenda.
I won’t try to split hairs and explain how to apply the principle of Be Impeccable with Your Word to every situation in this one article. Different situations have their own nuances to be aware of that can’t be addressed in one page.
What does it mean to be Impeccable with your Word?
I want to point out something more important about impeccability to be aware of that is often overlooked. The expression of your Word is much more than just the expression of your words.
Your word (small case) has to do with the things you say. They make up sentences, phrases that you speak and write. They come out as opinions, or comments, thoughts in your head, or could even make it into policy in some situations. On the other hand your Word is much more.
Your Word (upper case) has to do with the power you have to create through every kind of expression you make. You create through multiple types of expression including emotions, attitude, actions, what you refrain from, and what you express your faith in.
You can create how you feel emotionally by generating emotions, and then you feel them. You can create dynamics of respect in relationship by being silent and listening attentively. You can create a different experience for your self and others by refraining from an emotional reaction. You create an income for your self by how well you express caring in the activity of your work. You create a different self image of your self by putting the power of your faith in a thought you have about your self. This can happen in a very subtle and almost passive way of just accepting what you think about your self as true.
You express in a multitude of ways through out the day and being impeccable with your Word applies to all of them.
Silence can be Impeccable
Silence is an expression. And sometimes silence and refrain says a lot more than words can. Your actions are a part of how you create. To hit someone doesn’t fall into the category of expressing your self in the direction of love and truth. To greet someone with a kiss on the cheek is an expression that says more than a thousand words can.
Your Fears go against your Self
To live with existing fears in your mind doesn’t fall into the category of being impeccable. Maintaining fears of public speaking, asking someone out on a date, or a fear of failing is not in the direction of love for your self. Keeping your self in fear is an ongoing expression in your own mind that causes you to hold back in your actions of love for your self and others. Fear is at the heart of NOT being impeccable.
To Be Impeccable with Your Word is not as simple as it sounds. When you explore the meaning of this agreement your understanding will expand. You will begin to pay attention to the smaller moments of the day. Thoughts that used to go unnoticed or passing comments that seemed to be no big deal before become significant. As you become aware of the subtle expressions of the day this agreement becomes more challenging than one originally thought.
To really master being impeccable will require that you heighten your awareness not just to the words you say, but also to the emotions you express, your attitude, your actions, and where you express the power of your belief. You will need to develop a discipline of mindfulness to be impeccable in these expressions through out the day.
To Be Impeccable with Your Word is an art requiring constant vigilance. It is not something that you can decide to do one day and master by the end of the week. The mastery of any art, like music, painting, or sculpture, requires practice. To master the way you express your emotions, actions, thoughts, beliefs, will take practice just like any other art. In the beginning it will be challenging to just learn the basic skills.
A beginning painter will likely throw out his first drawing. He will also throw out many other early works. However those efforts are not wasted. As he pays attention to the details of his brush strokes he learns skills with every attempt. It takes time to master the various skills of mixing colors, brush strokes, choosing themes, and mastering light and shadows. With each painting he finishes, whether he keeps it or throws it away, he has improved himself as an artist.
You too will let go of what you created in your life years ago, and work on bigger and better creations as you develop. Each day is an opportunity to create a new piece of art with your life. Last years art is already far behind you. Learn, grow, and develop your skills through your creations, but don’t let them define you as an artist.
When you apply the practice of doing your best to be impeccable you discover that it has incredible rewards. To express your self in the direction of truth and love allows you to create your life as a masterpiece of beauty.
To master being impeccable with your word will take many moments of practice. You will likely throw away many of your attempts as being clumsy and not what you want. But that is okay. For with each action and attempt, you improve as the artist of your life.
Be careful not to believe the judgments that are likely to come from that inner judge. Make a commitment to do your best everyday and it will help you avoid self judgments as you practice and improve. Remember that in the midst of all these expressions that the real art you are working on is your self and you are worth taking time for.