I just finished reading, “The Fifth Agreement” by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz. This book was a bit ambiguous for a spiritual enlightenment type read but the very first agreement grabbed my attention, “Be Impeccable with Your Word”. One of the main themes of the book is to develop an awareness to distinguish between the core of our truth and the stories we tell. When we become masters of awareness, we gain the opportunity to become the artists behind the creation of our life. By becoming aware of what is truth and what is untruth, we can then determine what kind of story we wish to experience for our life.
This theme about truth reminded me of Byron Katie’s book “Loving What Is” which utilizes the practice of putting our stories and judgements of reality up to inquisition. Byron Katie, ascertains that it is not reality that hurts us but our thoughts about our reality. She leads people through a process of writing out judgments, inquiring to their validity and then turning the judgment around on self to observe whether or not the judgment is something that we actually hold against ourselves. A return to self is the end goal, realizing that our example is the greatest influence in how other’s treat us.
In “The Fifth Agreement” it says,
“To be aware means to open our eyes to see the truth. When we see the truth, we see everything just as it is, not the way we believe it is, not the way we wish it to be. Awareness opens the door to millions of possibilities, and if we know that we are the artist of our own life, we can make a choice from all those possibilities.”
“Being impeccable with your word really means never use the power of the word against yourself. When you’re impeccable with your word, you never betray yourself. You never use the word to gossip about yourself or to spread emotional poison by gossiping about other people.”
“Remember, you are the creator of your own life story. If you use the word impeccably, just imagine the story that you are going to create for yourself. You’re going to use the word in the direction of truth and love for yourself. You’re going to use the word to express the truth in every thought, in every action, in every word you use to describe yourself, to describe your life story. And what will be the result? An extraordinary beautiful life. In other words, you are going to be happy.”
I wanted to know more about what it meant to be impeccable with my word. For starters, I looked at the definition of IMPECCABLE according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary,
: not capable of sinning or liable to sin
: free from fault or blame: flawless
To me, being flawless with my word means that I think, speak and act with integrity to the best of my consciousness. I understand that I am growing and changing all of the time and therefore, what I believed yesterday, may not be what I believe tomorrow or next week. Being impeccable with my word means that I am willing to own my thoughts, words and actions today and in doing so, I become accountable for the current context of my life.
At the core of being impeccable with my word is LOVE.
I know myself to be love and loving and I feel in tune when my actions and words are stemming from a place of kindness and love. In “Conversations with God” Book 1, it says, there are only two emotions – fear and love. Love is truth. We know we are being guided by God and living in truth when whatever we are being, doing, and FEELING is love, joy and peace. Our feelings then become a guide in knowing when we are living in truth. Therefore, if I am feeling unhappy, angry, worried or fearful somewhere in my thoughts and beliefs there exists an illusion or falsehood that needs to be looked at and noticed.
I am aware that circumstances in my life that trouble me are not detrimental to my future, but sometimes when I am so wrapped up in the story, when I am drowning in worry, I forget to take a step back and remind myself that the circumstance is not the end of my world. The fear is most likely a misconception that needs to be processed. I can change this perception into something more peaceful. One of the easiest ways for me to do this is to look at the actions that I am taking, the words I am speaking and the thoughts that I am thinking. One or all of these are leading me to this place of distress. Am I treating myself with love and respect? Am I trusting my intuition? Am I giving myself enough credit for knowing what is right for me? A lot of times I find myself in an unhappy state of mind when I have veered away from authenticity and I have made a choice or said something that wasn’t in alignment with the truth of who I am.
An example of this would be when I make a decision and I am questioned about it by an outsider and I let the questioning negatively influence how I feel about my own decision making. I second guess myself or maybe feel the need to defend myself. When this happens I will sometimes talk to a friend and get their input but ultimately what it comes down to is my need to check in with myself. I need to check in with my motives, my intuition and my choice and ask myself why I feel the need to defend it. Is it because I am lacking confidence in my decision and if so why do I lack that confidence? A lot of the time, if I am lacking confidence in a decision making scenario it is because of a fear of failure or of imperfection. The most important thing to remind myself of, is that my decisions will not always add up to everyone else around me but THEY MUST ADD UP TO ME. I have to own the decision and live with it and I am the only one who knows what is absolutely right for me. In this example, what is right and true lies within myself.
Another example which can go hand in hand with the previous example, is when I am looking outside of myself for approval, happiness or love. This has come up for me several times in the last year. After my husband left, my self-confidence took a nose dive. I questioned my physical attractiveness, the appeal of my personality, my character, my beliefs, my desirability to others and ultimately my goodness and worth. Was I deserving of other’s attention and fondness? Did people enjoy their time with me? Was I fun enough, good enough, sexy enough?
There are so many ways to experiment with trying to fill the void where self-love and acceptance should reside. You can dress yourself up, go out to be seen and desired by others, you can adapt yourself to be what other people want you to be or what they find attractive and appealing, you can post pictures and opinions on social media and measure your likability by how many likes and reactions you get. All of these external evaluations of how you are perceived are just that — EXTERNAL. They are another person’s observation of you through the lens of their own life and their own story. Their opinion and observation of you can change at any time based on the smallest experience.
If I invest my happiness in other people’s opinion of me, I am surely to lose at one time or another because I will most certainly not be someone’s cup of tea at some point. I have found that when I am looking for outside approval or love it is because I have left myself. I am literally not present in my being. It’s like hosting a party at your home and not being there to greet the guests. I am out searching for the approval rather than inhabiting my being and showing up to confidently shine as the woman I am. And when I am not present for myself, I am certainly not wholly present for others. This my friends, for me, is not being impeccable.
I would rather put my faith in something much more consistent to provide joy and happiness – MYSELF. That is not to say that I do not have days where I get down on myself – frustrated, disappointed, hard on myself. What I have come to realize in the last few weeks is that when I return to myself and focus on what I am creating and doing in my life as well as all of the things that I love and appreciate about myself, I come back to my truth. I know that I am in truth because this place feels authentically good. It feels real, safe, like I am home again.
I have a set of oracle cards that I will occasionally draw cards from when I feel like I need a sign or a message or guidance. Just a few days ago I drew the HOME card. The card says that our “home should be a safe haven of tranquility, warmth and love…create a space, no matter how small, somewhere you feel safe…know that whomever you invite into this place there will be trust and togetherness.” When I drew the card, I thought the reference was to the current home that I reside in with my children, but as I am writing this I know it means the home within myself. I think it is an encouragement to continue to nurture and care for the home within myself and make it a place of peace, love and trust. Whenever I am feeling off track or inauthentic, I have a space to return to that is warm, comforting and genuinely loving within myself.
Loving and accepting myself is a continuous practice. It started with affirmations and gratitude and it continues to be a daily exercise of seeing all of the things I value and love about myself. Gradually, the practice has evolved from forcing myself to notice the good things about myself to having these unanticipated, lovely moments of noticing something that I really adore about myself. Striving to be impeccable with my word encourages more of these moments as it cultivates a sense of pride and a sincere feeling of coming home.
Another piece that I took away from the book was that if we are loving and accepting of ourselves we are capable of seeing people as they truly are. People are not their stories and they are not their fearful reactions to life. The inherent truth lies beneath the surface of the stories and the judgments. And when we are aware of this, extending love and acceptance becomes uncomplicated. If we can see people as they truly are, stripped of our expectations and judgments of them, all people become innately lovable. We are all endeavoring to be loved and accepted. How we choose to paint the canvas of our life is what makes us unique.