Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The First Agreement - Be Impeccable With Your Word

Ruiz writes that words have power for both good and evil – an example of the latter are those used by Adolf Hitler to bind an entire nation and draw a world to war, but an ordinary person also has the power to cast black magic by using words.

Words can be misused when we offer an opinion that a person accepts as fact. An offhand comment to a person that they are stupid may become something accepted by that person and become entwined in their belief system and therefore they reinforce that opinion whenever they do something that they perceive to be stupid. Ruiz calls this black magic and more often than not it is not done with malice, but is a result of carelessness. Thus we come to the concept of impeccability.

To be impeccable means to be without sin. Therefore to use words impeccably means not that we should always tell the truth to someone, but that we have a responsibility to ourselves to ensure that what we say is not designed to hurt or destroy someone else. And the reason for this is that when we use words to hurt, in the end we hurt ourselves more than we hurt the other person. If we call someone stupid, whilst they may accept that as part of their belief system, they will also lose respect for us. If you tell someone you hate them, it is more likely than not that they will return that hate. Thus the black magic binds not only the other person but ourselves.

How many of us can remember the exact moment in time when as a child we felt mocked for something we said? We may have been laughed at when we offered an opinion in class, or told to stop singing because our voice was horrible. How many have then retreated and not been confident to offer opinion or to sing in front of others.

Ruiz states that one of the worst misuses of the word is gossip which we use to hook other people into believing what we believe. It is obvious that gossip has the power to do great harm. When you also understand the concept that we use the word against ourselves, in reinforcing a belief that we are stupid or that we cannot sing for example, we are also using the word against ourselves. Self esteem suffers and we are bound not only by our own beliefs but by those of others.

If you are able to accept the first agreement, gossip becomes anathema and the power of people to harm us by gossip or by negative opinions diminishes. If we learn to love ourselves it becomes far easier to love others and in turn to have that love repaid.


Stephanie said...

I love this book, Loz. Its one of my all-time favorites. Its one of the few books I can return to and re-read again ang again, and have it apply to one or another situation in my life at the time.

There is no doubt whatsoever that gossip is horribly damaging. ...or that words used in any way that is not for good are detrimental to the speaker and the listener.

I'm surprised I missed this post...

Recent blog post: There Are Places I Remember

Loz said...

Mine too Steph. Don't feel bad about missing the post - in the early days of this blog I didn't get a lot of comments and I thought I was just writing to myself. I am grateful for you and the others who came along after that and made the whole blogging experience way more valuable for me.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the Anger and Other Things