The Four Agreements: Be Impeccable With Your Word

According to the author, the first agreement is the most important.  Be Impeccable With Your Word.
Your word is the power that you have to create.  Your word is the gift that comes directly from God.  Through the word you manifest your intent, regardless of what language you speak.  What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are will all be manifested through the word.  -Don Miguel RuizWisdom From The Four Agreements

Obviously this is about being honest.

But one thing that I always pay attention to is why a person says something the way they say it.  Why didn't the author say "Be honest"?

Because it's more than that.  Being impeccable isn't just telling the truth, it's also about authenticity.  It's about precision of language.  Say what is true, what you feel, what you mean.  Be precise.  Don't beat around the bush, don't use coded language, don't couch what you say in niceties you don't mean so that it will be perceived better.  Use your words to convey meaningful truth.

Further, impeccability is about purpose.  Speak because there's a reason to speak.  One of my favorite quotes by Gandhi is "speak only if it improves upon the silence."  An idea I take to heart.  Use your words to share knowledge, not just to fill a void.

My sophomore year in college I lived with 9 other women (and yes, at times, it was like The Real World: The Estrogen edition).  There was one roommate I came to really care about, but boy could she work my nerves with all her talking.  I would lament to my BFF about her constant talking.  I remember telling him, "she can't let more than 5 seconds of silence go before she has to speak."

He didn't really believe me, so I told him to come over one night when it was just her and I in the house.  He had a hard time keeping a straight face as we purposefully didn't talk so that we could see how long it would take her to begin rambling about anything, just to avoid the quiet.  Trying to avoid quiet says more about you than you might think.

When we are impeccable with our words, when we are precise and poignant, we take care of ourselves and each other.  We help avoid unnecessary misunderstandings; we share our true feelings with those who need to hear them; we impart wisdom and knowledge on others.  We are good citizens when we are impeccable with our word.

Lord knows it's not easy.  Most of us don't want to hurt those around us.  But I've found that being careless with words can hurt, even when that's not our intent.  Sometimes moreso.  I'd rather a person know exactly where I stand on an issue and be hurt for a little while, than go on thinking I feel one way only to be hurt later when they find out I feel another way.

Ultimately, being impeccable with your word is about you.  It's freeing to know that everyone around you knows who you are and what you stand for.  Authenticity is a beautiful thing.  It's consistent, trustworthy, and always timely.  There is no way you can be who you truly are without being impeccable with what you say.

The Second Agreement: Don't Take Anything Personally

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