The past several weeks I’ve been navigating a challenging and time consuming situation, known as an eviction. I’ve never been involved in this process before, and it’s been quite a learning experience.
As my dear friend, Max Young, said to me this week (he owns three rental properties). “Business is business. Christmas is Christmas. And this ain’t Christmas.” Sigh. So true, Max. This SO ain’t Christmas.
As promises were made and broken repeatedly by my tenant, I was eventually forced to take legal action.
I began to think about what happens when we dishonor our word. It erodes trust and creates pain, disappointment, and frustration. Dishonoring our word is disrespectful to ourselves and to others. And this dishonoring of word makes attorneys wealthy. (My apology to my good friend, Steve Replin, who happens to be an attorney.)
There’s a part of us that wishes for “the good ole days” when “a handshake and a man’s word could be trusted”. I’m not sure the good ole days ever really existed, but we like to think so. A part of us wishes we could create that in the future (and we could). Life would be so much kinder and easier. We’d spend less time protecting ourselves from each other and more time opening up our hearts and creative energies to effective change. We’d feel safer. We’d be happier.
In his book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom”, based on ancient Toltec wisdom, don Miguel Ruiz discusses the “domestication” of our education and how it has caused us to forget the wisdom with which we were born. He offers a code of conduct to release us from the self-limiting beliefs we have learned along the way.
The first and most important agreement is . . .
. . . “Be Impeccable with Your Word”. Our words – as thoughts and as spoken word – are the power with which we create. It is our power to express, communicate, think, speak, and connect. Words can create beauty or destroy lives. Our opinions, ideas, concepts, and beliefs are formed through our words. Our opinions, ideas, concepts, and beliefs provide the map for our choices and actions.
Though Ruiz’ writings tend to sound a bit magical, they are grounded in what we know about how the mind functions. Our unconscious mind – the predominant part of our mind – functions on the beliefs established from childhood, reinforced by our perceptions and experiences. The mind will continue to respond and direct action based upon those beliefs, until new beliefs are installed, reinforced, validated, and established as new habits.
Not keeping your word, not following through with your promises, and lying is the fast track to destroying your life and your relationships. It is incredibly self-destructive at so many levels.
Speak what you mean, and mean what you speak. Stop dishonoring yourself and others by pretending.
Being “impeccable” with your word means not going against yourself. All of us have made promises to ourselves and to others. All of us have broken our promises. All of us have lied. All of us have disappointed others. Often these mistakes found their origin in fear. This is part of our conflicted human experience. Our task to move out of a conflicted position internally, so that our thoughts (words) and actions are congruent and consistent – impeccable.
Being impeccable is essential for conserving energy. In practical terms it means – don’t promise what you can’t do or have no intention of doing. It’s a waste of time. It weakens you and creates internal emotional states of guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and regret (unless you are sociopathic). In relationship to others it creates distrust, disappointment, frustration, inconvenience, and discouragement.
Next time you open your mouth to promise something to someone, please consider if what you are saying comes from a place of true power – from what is authentically true for you. Let your words be empowering. Let your words be . . . impeccable.