Are you impeccable with your word? Do you say what you mean and mean what you say? Do you stay focused on the positive outcomes of your intentions when you speak? Are you intentional in your communication? If not, your unconscious habits could be creating a great deal of strife in your life. Not to worry. The solution comes down to a simple choice that you can make today.
(of behavior, performance, or appearance) in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless. Not liable to sin.
A Story of Heartbreak
A couple of weeks ago I experienced betrayal. A close friend and colleague of mine had something difficult that she wanted to talk with me about. She was afraid her news would upset me, so she first went to a mutual friend and colleague to ask for advice on the best way to approach the situation. The main problem here is that the issue at hand was a business matter. I was this colleague’s client, and by going to this other colleague rather than simply talking with me, client confidentiality was broken.
It gets worse. The colleague that received this piece of private business information promptly turned around and told someone who went on to try to use this information against us. This caused some problems and setbacks that would have been completely avoided if our first friend had simply faced her fear and been impeccable with her word.
The First Agreement
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s fantastic book, The Four Agreements, he describes the behavior patterns, beliefs, and the roots of the habits that make up human interaction, both with ourselves and with others. Many of these are the roots of our fears, deeply ingrained from early childhood. They drain our energy by telling us stories of unworthiness, making us feel powerless. Ruiz asserts that we can change these limiting beliefs and replace them with four powerful agreements that work in our favor and add to our power.
Ruiz says that the first of these agreements is by far the most important, and the most difficult to uphold:
Be Impeccable with Your Word.
Our words have the power to both create and destroy. With our words, we sow the seeds of ideas in our minds and in the minds of others. Some seeds grow into joy, hope, and wonder, while others create fear, anger, and hate. Each idea spoken turns into a spell we cast, on ourselves and those around us. What kind of magic are you using?
Gossip: A Careless Word
Ruiz refers to gossip as “the worst form of black magic.” This “emotional poison” gets passed from one person to another along with personal judgments and fears dressed up as opinions. Ruiz compares gossip to a computer virus. When someone hears negative words spoken about another, those words can imprint on our minds and color our impressions. We may not even notice how those words have swayed us. Without clear focus on the intention of being impeccable, it is all to easy to spread the virus. After all, everyone does it, right?
Gossip isn’t always malicious. Intentionally spreading verbal poison out of anger, revenge, or to bring others down is unfortunately common in some circles. Not everyone is so cruel. The even more prevalent phenomenon is unintentional gossip. Thoughtlessly casting spells about another, harmless or well-meaning as it seems at the time, can have just as much negative impact as cruel intention.
To Be Impeccable
“If we adopt the first agreement, and become impeccable with our word, any emotional poison will eventually by cleansed from our mind and from our communication in our personal relationships… Impeccability of the word will also give you immunity from anyone putting a negative spell on you,” says Ruiz.
With these words from Ruiz, a seed was planted in my mind. This seed is an idea. I now hold the idea that there is a better way to communicate, keeping intentional focus on honesty, integrity, joy, hope, wonder, and care for others. With the words of this article, I hope to pass that seed on to you. I encourage you to also read The Four Agreements to receive the full impact of Ruiz’s message.
On to the next level
Keep reading in the next article to learn about the second of Ruiz’s Four Agreements, and discover more of what I learned through this personal experience of gossip.