Be impeccable with your word.
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In a sense, social constructivists are correct about words creating reality. We act on what we tell ourselves is real. Albert Ellis encouraged us to screen our self-talk for negative, irrational chatter. What kinds of words do you use when you describe reality?
Do you lie and say hurtful and poisonous things about yourself and others? Not healthy. To be impeccable with your word is to be truthful and to say things that have a positive influence on yourself and others. Don't take anything personally. The first agreement suggests that we avoid treating others hurtfully.
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The second agreement provides us with a way of dealing with potentially hurtful treatment from others. Because each person sees the world in a unique way, the way that others treat us says as much about them as it does about us.
Not taking anything personally is to acknowledge the unique identities of other people. We respect their subjective realities, realizing that their views do not necessarily describe us accurately. Don't make assumptions. Assuming that you know what other people are thinking or feeling about you is a limiting thought that Aaron Beck called Mind Reading. Obviously, none of us can read minds. When we try to engage in mind reading we will often be wrong, leading to undesirable consequences.
The antidote to mind reading is to ask for evidence before concluding what people are thinking. Always do your best. One obvious reason for doing your best is that we cannot achieve our goals by being lazy. If you do your best, not only are you are more likely to achieve goals, but you will also avoid criticism from what Ruiz calls your internal Judge.
There are also more subtle issues about doing "your best. Pushing yourself too hard can cause pain, injury, and mistakes. More subtle still is the recognition that our "best" will vary from moment to moment, that, in a sense, you are always doing your best. Realize this, and your inner Judge can take a permanent vacation. Do these four agreements actually derive from ancient Toltec wisdom? I will bet that many hard-nosed skeptics would have serious doubts about that. I am a skeptic myself. But to my fellow skeptics, I might mention that Ruiz's next book, The Fifth Agreement , suggests the following agreement: "Be skeptical but learn to listen.
I did a little research into the old toltec history and it was not pretty, not pretty at all. So, with that being said, this book is written for mean people, that of which most people are in this bullied and hurried society. I just can't put it any more succinctly or clear than that. I met a person who had read this book, well, I was trying to meet people again, she ran over me so fast I felt like a speed bump in the road, then again she was a major coffee drinker speed freak , like most people I know these days anyways, such a game player.
Those of us that are docile, kind, personable, quiet, calm, respectful, giving, open, loving, and don't believe in the "me" society that comprises the world of today, we are the truly lonely ones, the few, and are impossible to follow. We are the ones, who in the olden days sat at the very, very edge of the circle, listening very carefully, waiting, waiting, for our chance to finally leave and create our own tribe.
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We have been domesticated since day one, when the book strips that away straight away, if you have no belief system your basically using people others , to get what you want out of life. Go back to the original toltec's, see how they treated their wives, now we allow our women to treat our men that way. I'm not pro-feminist all day by any means, but this cycle of hurting each other will never end while people read books like this, this book reeks of walk all over people to get what you want out of life mentality, it takes hypocrisy to a new level, but then again, we are now all hypocrites anyways and have been for quite some time.
Only 1per cent of the population of the world get life. So positive thinking??? And not living with drama. Means you control your own dystany. They said "I met a person who had read this book They obviously did not get anything from it, and that's why they ran you over. So, you did not read the book, and you are able to express such strong opinions about the book? Studying toltec history is rather meaningless when it comes to understanding this book.
That is like looking back at ancient Hindu and deciding that there is nothing to be gained from yoga or meditation. Humans have been figuring out how to manipulate their minds since time immemorial, and even though they may have seen it in terms of magic or religion, the methods they learned are not to be discounted for that reason alone. We can now better understand what is really happening when a person uses meditation, visualizations, etc.
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This book is nothing but a guide to self-awareness and love of everything and everyone. Taken to its limits, it frees you to be able to love those that you normally might avoid because of the negative emotions they generate within you.
Being able to see the chain of events that go from something a person says to the emotional response within you is the basis of much cognitive behavioral therapy. You cannot control the actions of others in order that you experience the emotional response that you like best, you can only learn to control the mechanism behind your emotional response. I also found it odd to judge a book by the behavior of one person who claims to have read it and by the ancient people who are ancestors to the book's author.
This is why I did not respond to the comment from Cccc. As it is, I stand by the idea that--Toltec or not--these principles are a healthy way to live and are consistent with best practices endorsed by modern psychology:. The comment from Cccc seems to be from a person who is slightly unhinged. Being truly kind and generous doesn't mean you have to let selfish people walk all over you. If that is happening, you likely aren't as "enlightened" as you believe yourself to be.
Going after what you want in life is not selfish nor does it have to hurt other people. Cccc's point of view sounds, quite honestly, severely codependent. Good points, Brian. The word "selfish" has a negative connotation in our society because for most people that word means trying to get what you want at the expense of other people.
Sadly, too many people think we have two choices: either being that sort of a selfish person or being a kind, generous martyr who lets that sort of selfish person walk all over you. But there is also a different kind of "selfishness" that simply means taking care of yourself and going after what you want without harming other people. I'll look up that article, it's a topic of great interest to me. I've recently finally gotten around to reading Walden and Thoreau touches on it a bit in a short diatribe on philanthropy.
We would all live in our isolated, impervious cocoons. No one bothered by anyone else, or loved either. And no one can be impeccable with their word.
To demand otherwise would create perfectionistic wrecks, of which I include myself. It is taking time to slowly stop demanding this from people.
Not taking things personally does not have to mean isolation and lack of love. Read it and see if you come to the same conclusion. As for impeccability, that word certainly does have the connotation of perfectionism, and if you take it that way you would indeed drive yourself crazy. By the way, impeccability and the other agreements are agreements you choose make with yourself, not demands that Ruiz places on you. On the other hand, if you set being impeccable with your word as a goal, striving to be as honest and kind with your words as possible without expecting perfection of yourself or beating yourself up when you fall short, this agreement with yourself could increase your well-being.
Miguel Ruiz suggests that we create much of our own suffering by believing the voices of our inner judge and creating a story of our victimhood. We can choose to change our story by not agreeing with the inner judge. We can use the fourth agreement, Do Your Best, to encourage ourselves to strive positively. But this agreement also recognizes that "our best" differs from moment to moment, depending on our circumstances and state of mind.
I realize this was written a few years ago…and I still must take exception with some of the author's misunderstandings of the wisdom in "The Four Agreements. First, to Be Impeccable with our word does not having anything to do with being truthful or lying. Nor is it about having a "positive influence" on others.
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If one reads more carefully one will find that don Miguel uses the word "impeccable" to mean "without sin. He then says that our "word" is the creative force in our lives including beliefs, actions, etc and we sin when we "use our word against ourselves.