The Four Agreements – Be Impeccable with Your Word

Don Miguel Ruiz wrote The Four Agreements many years ago. Many people in my industry love The Four Agreements. I try to live them. They are not so simple. Over the next four weeks, we will delve into each of the Four Agreements. The first one is to be impeccable with your word.

What does be impeccable with your word mean?

Being impeccable with your word can mean different things to different people. For me, it is simply to mean what you say and say what you mean. We often speak before we think. It’s probably wise to do the opposite. Words can heal or harm. We should always try to choose ours carefully and intentionally. We want to lift others up, not tear them apart.

Verbal Abuse Hurts

As someone who has been through the pain of verbal abuse, I can tell you it’s rather painful. Words can be like weapons. Remember the children’s saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt me.” That’s an outright fallacy. I have been called many names throughout my life. I’ve also had broken bones. I know what sticks with me more today. It’s those hurtful words that cut me to the quick. It’s not the broken bones.

When we wield words as weapons, we do ourselves and others a disservice. We hurt people and we hurt ourselves. Karma exists and when we are practicing right speech, we are being intentional about what we say. We are allowing ourselves to think about what we say and to mean it. We are being impeccable with your word.

The Concept of Impeccability

I first heard this concept when I was reading the works of Carlos Castaneda. Truthfully, I didn’t understand it immediately. I was a college student at the time studying History and Latin American Studies at Tufts University. I thought it was a cool concept, but it would take me years to grasp. Impeccability is a way of living. It’s the ‘warrior’s way.’ As an impeccable person, you strive not to be flawless, but to be striving for it. You do and say the things that you are meant to and mean to. You are your word. It’s inherent in you. There is no separation of the two.

How can you practice the First Agreement?

This week try hard to say only what you mean. Think before you speak. Tell people things that are uplifting even if you must pause and take a few minutes to think of something kind. You can find it. You can choose your words to heal and not harm. You can take a minute to find something uplifting to say to someone else. You’ll find yourself feeling lighter as a result and better.

If you want to read, The Four Agreements, I would encourage you to do it. It’s a wonderful book. Next week, we’ll focus on the Second Agreement – don’t take things personally.