I hope you have been energized and enthusiastic living your New Years Mantra.
As promised here is my second installment: Be Impeccable with your Word.
The concept is borrowed from an excellent book, The Four Agreements, and I believe it is important for many reasons.
On the most basic level, I see it as being clear in your communication. If you have something to say, say it directly. Few of us like confrontation, but far worse is passive aggressive communication. When I reflect on relationships (romantic, professional, friendly) that ended on disagreeable terms, most often the culprit was poor communication. I am blessed in the friend department, but the one close friendship that I lost (almost ten years ago) still haunts me in dreams/nightmares. It’s not that I think about the friend much, but the fact that it ended with poor communication causes my subconscious to continue fretting over it.
By comparison, a relationship that ended with clear, strong (trashy and tawdry even) words is much easier (for me) to file away mentally and emotionally. This person in question left my life saying: “You’re really a handful, you know?” (He thought that was a huge insult.) To which I replied: “A-f*ckin-men!” Period. The End.
So let’s try to be clear with each other, and not just for break-ups, but to better our relationships.
On the next level, Be Impeccable with your Word should be to mean what you say. If you promise to do something, follow through. Even to yourself. Especially to yourself! I am skilled at helping others achieve their goals, but for my own objectives….I don’t always follow through. What’s with that? When I make a commitment to someone, only a natural disaster keeps me from fulfilling that obligation. To myself, not so much. Whether it is to make progress on my writing, to promote my business, or to finally make it out for a pedicure (Your Body is a Temple!), I have a hundred excuses ready that prevent me from completing my task. Pretty shabby, I say!
I have a couple of girlfriends that when we make plans to get together, I know there is a greater than 50% chance they will cancel. One whom I refer to (in my head) as “Flakey Jen”. I get it. I know things come up. Especially now as the mother of a little Dragon, my best intentions, my schedule and availability are no longer at my (sole) discretion. However, I believe the case of Flakey Jen and the others is not a matter of “things coming up”. I think it is because they hesitate to say “no” to invitations, etc. They don’t want to disappoint. Maybe they don’t want to miss out. Or they worry there will never be another offer or opportunity. Perhaps there are not being honest with themselves about priorities or obligations. I still love these friends, but they are so unreliable that I do give it a second thought before I reach out to them.
Totally dated, but if you’ve seen Jerry Maguire, you may remember the scene where the top draft pick’s father says:” I don’t do contracts, but you have my word…and it’s stronger than oak.” And then, of course, he breaks his word. That gutted me.
If I am Impeccable with my Word, then I will honor all commitments to myself and others.
My final thought about Be Impeccable with Your Word is to use your word well. Sticks and stones, etc, but words will never hurt me? Mostly true. I do think it is a good lesson for youngsters ( for all of us!) to keep their chins up and not let their worth be determined by others’ words.
One of the reasons that this post was late (besides the usual Miss O tardiness) is that I was not using my word well, and while I deeply wanted to embrace Be Impeccable with Your Word, I had not been living it.
Are you using your word to create, to inspire, to encourage? Or are you using it to talk behind someone’s back, to gossip, to denigrate?
A few weeks ago, I came home from visiting with friends and said to Honey: “do you want to hear some gossip?” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to slap my own face. First of all, Honey didn’t even know the person in question so why bring it up? Secondly, it wasn’t “good gossip” like news of a long-awaited pregnancy or recent engagement. Thirdly, it was bad news, so was I celebrating someone’s misfortune? And finally, the actual motivation was that I was hoping to provoke (or even manipulate) a conversation/response. It was the opposite of clear, direct communication and a total fail of being impeccable with my word. Luckily he was engrossed playing Forza Motorsport so I was able to create a diversion, change the subject, and leave the room to go examine my behavior.
Listen, Darlings, Miss O is no saint. I strive to create only the loftiest, most noble thoughts, but I can be judgmental, I can think poorly of someone, even someone I love. I can’t control everything that happens in my brain (it’s so vast but I can control what I say. If you need to call someone out or have a difficult conversation, do it. It is better than talking behind their back which will NEVER resolve the issue. I would add: if you suspect that a topic is sensitive, think before you speak and choose your words well. And if you have so many bad things to say about someone, then why are they still in your life?
Your Word is powerful. Your Word has weight. There is so much crap and negativity being spewed into the Universe. Let’s use our Word in the most impeccable way!