The Four Agreements is a book by don Miguel Ruiz that discusses the basic principles by which people can live to create simplicity and happiness. I’ve read it, and it’s a staple in the spiritual community.
So it came as no surprise that my yoga instructor the other night said she has been basing her practices and classes recently on the book, and doing a class for each agreement. The agreement that night: Be Impeccable with your Word.
In the book, the agreement is that one should speak with integrity about oneself and about others, and that we should choose our words wisely and do so with love and good intention.
Perfect for a yoga class, and just another way to send all of that acceptance through the energy of the body!
Our instructor reminded us while we contorted our physical forms, that sometimes when we feel like we are stuck, whether it is with a pose or in life, we have negative, unloving thoughts about ourselves, and that is not being impeccable with our word. We tend to be our own worst critic, so even though the agreement is about being impeccable with ourselves AND others, I think it’s so important that we start with being kind to ourselves.
It’s so easy to fall into patterns where we speak negatively about and to one another, and share unwarranted gossip because on some level it makes us feel better about ourselves. If we see and point out the fault in others, then it’s easier for us to ignore the faults in ourselves.
So we persist with negativity toward others in this manner and build a holier-than-thou attitude where we are right and everyone else is wrong. Then the walls come up. And then the judgement starts. And then we alienate ourselves because we’ve decided that the faults are more important to see than the strengths.
And we leave all impeccable words behind.
But I’ve been really working on making sure that I’m better about the things I say, and granted I’m far from perfect, as all of us are, I know that I’ve certainly come a long way in the past 5 years since understanding a deeper love and connection with myself. I find that even when I’m angry or upset, I pause and choose my words carefully with the other person. I don’t lash out quite the way I used to, and use my words like knives. I know my words can cut deeply, and I have used them against people on purpose, but that got me nowhere.
I’ve also made some significant choices about who I spend my time with, and I make sure that those I keep close are people who also are impeccable with their words. I’ve noticed that over the past couple of years, the closer I get to those friends, the better our words become with one another, and how we tend to model our impeccability after one another.
I’m so grateful for these people, and I let them know all of the time that I appreciate their love and friendship.
That alone, the idea of appreciation, is something that brings about impeccability with our words. If we can just appreciate the small things about ourselves and about others, then the finger pointing and cruel words start to fall away and become less of a focus.
In those moments in class where I knew I had to be more impeccable with my word, I told myself the following:
I love you. I trust you. I support you. Thank you.