The first agreement from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is be impeccable with your word. Words have the power to lift another or cut them off at the knees. We chose our words sometimes that choice is with love and compassion, while other times we say things without thinking. We may believe we are being helpful while sharing information that really is none of our business. I think when choosing our words we may optimize our message by remembering to take care of our own business. Business falls into 3 categories: Our own business, Other people’s business, and God’s business. If we stick to our own business and are impeccable with our word, imagine how different life could be. Other people’s and God’s business are NOT our responsibility.
I was reminded how damaging thoughtless words can be. A wonderful friend received feedback that hurt her feelings. The feedback was delivered from a person who simply did not understand the complexity of the situation and on top of that, it was about other people’s business. Even though my dear friend intellectually realized the feedback was not something to get upset about, her feelings begged to differ. Witnessing her struggle brought back so many times where I have allowed words to cut deep into my heart. We all navigate painful words differently. I tend to retreat, walk, write, cry and then clean like mad to rid myself of the funk. The pain lingers way too long for my liking! I also try to shift emotional gears and look for the lesson in the situation. There always is one. Often times the lesson for me is to stop giving a fuck. (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is an awesome book!)
Kind loving words build me up yet in a different way. Self-love is an inside job. External validation of words can only do so much. If I don’t feel good about myself at the time then the loving words seem to bounce right off because I don’t believe them. The thoughtless words hurt so much because they mirror some negative belief that no longer serves me. My goal is to savor the positive words with as much vengeance as the thoughtless words do. I want those loving external reminders to dominate my days and linger just as long as the painful ones do. I suppose the next step is to stop craving the external reminders at all and simply love life as it is in each moment. How convenient that the second agreement is do not take things personally. Uggh!
Let it go