Say What You Mean

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One of Don Miguel Ruiz’s 4 Agreements is to be impeccable to your word: say what you mean and mean what you say. This, he writes, is an act of self-love. It is the greatest act of self-love.

I have been thinking much about this agreement particularly as I step through another threshold and leave behind all that I know. I find that am often NOT impeccable to my word. I am not so concerned with my honesty with others. I edit myself, I soften the impact of my words, and I manipulate my meanings; I am human. I’m not sure what it means to be honest with others because I am not sure that I am honest with myself. Impeccability with others is only possible if I am impeccable with myself.

Someone once told me that the best part about me was that I tell a great story and the worst part about me is that I tell a great story. I have exercised my capacity to see the light side to such a degree that I sometimes make light of the darkness. A friend once asked me, “Why is it okay that these things are happening to you? Where’s your rage?” It was a great question and, in fact, opened my eyes to my lack of impeccability with myself.

Say what you mean to yourself. Mean what you say to yourself. It is a double-edged sword. Like me, you are not impeccable when you call yourself names: are you truly an idiot? Neither am I. Do you mean to diminish yourself? Neither do I. Do you mean to diminish others? Do you need to push others down to elevate yourself? Neither do I. These are the easy misalignments to spot. Suspend your judgments and you will return, at least partially, to impeccability.

The more difficult stories to catch are the stories of, “It’s okay.” Is it truly okay for you to give up your needs to fulfill the needs of others? Is it okay for you to give away your voice? Are you sure it is not important if you let go of your dream? Are you certain that is doesn’t matter if the world steps all over you? Impeccability comes when we say, “That’s not okay.” Boundaries and impeccability go hand-in-hand. That’s why, to Don Miguel Ruiz, impeccability is an act of self-love.

Recently, a woman in class, who lost her house to Hurricane Sandy, said that she was “investing in her darkness.” She was telling herself the story of “everything is ruined.” Certainly the house was ruined. She realized that she was not ruined; she was alive. She needed to feel what she was feeling; she needed to grieve so she could move forward. So, rather than telling a story of ruin, she began to tell a story of grieving so she could reach the story of “what’s next.” She said, “ I realized that we need the light AND the dark. We need them both…it was all okay when I allowed that it wasn’t okay.”

2 Responses

  1. Boundaries and anger also go hand-in-hand. We feel angry when one of our boundaries is violated. When I allow myself to have my anger, this is self-love (and impeccability). If I tell myself that my anger is not okay, that I can’t have it, there’s a way in which I’m invalidating my own boundaries. I hear you saying that impeccability has to do with consistency and integrity, but not just in terms of our outward presentation, but across all the layers of our energy.

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