The Four Agreements is a book of wisdom from a modern-day Toltec named Don Miguel Ruiz. Toltecs are an ancient tribe from Southern Mexico known for their knowledge and wisdom. Ruiz summarizes the Toltec philosophy through four agreements.
Ruiz says the first agreement – Be impeccable with your word – is the most important and most difficult one to honor.
Language is one of the most powerful tools that determines the course of our lives. Words have the power to create love and share joy, or spread hate and lie about others. Without using our word impeccably it would be extremely difficult to live a life of fulfilment.
An example of the extent that word can be used for evil is the rise of Nazism and the suffering caused by the word of just one man.
A seed is sown when someone first tells a child that they are ugly, stupid, or useless. From that point on, the child looks for evidence to defend this newly formed agreement. If they get something wrong in class it reinforces the belief that they’re stupid. If they anger their parent it reinforces the belief that they are useless.
Luckily these spells can be broken by evidence to the contrary, although it is arguably more difficult to break the spell than reinforce it. That’s why we live in a world where self-confidence, self-esteem and self-love are becoming harder and harder to preserve. The language that’s being used in our environment is the problem.
Gossip is something that occurs so often in normal life. We always want to talk about other people. But gossip is harmful, even if the person we are gossiping about never finds out. It spreads a negative energy and plants new negative beliefs in others. One way that I catch myself gossiping is by asking myself if I would say the same thing about the person I am talking about if they were present in the conversation too.
Even though it wasn’t mentioned in the book I also took this rule to mean: “Do what you say you’re going to do.” I believe that the more extensively a person can turn their words into action, the more fulfilled their life will end up being. Doing what you say on a consistent basis will build trust in yourself, and others will trust you too because you can be relied upon. The discipline and strength required will create the self-confidence, self-esteem and self-love that is a prerequisite for a good life.
Be impeccable with your word.