“Be Impeccable with your word.” Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, describes our word as magic and the misuse of the word as black magic. Every time we speak, we cast a spell and the intention of that spell is either good or evil; white magic vs. black magic. This may seem a bit outside of one’s paradigm, but just wait.
He goes on to give the example of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and you begin to see his point. There is a power to everything we say. Just imagine if Hitler had used his word for good rather than evil. He motivated a nation of people by planting seeds of fear in their minds. Allowing them to justify their actions of unthinkable torture to innocent people. How powerful of a change could he have created if her would have instead motivated a nation of people by planting seeds of love?!
When you think of it that way, it becomes much easier to accept your word as magic and the misuse of the word as black magic. When we tell ourselves we are less than perfect, we are poisoning ourselves with our word. We are casting a spell on ourselves that makes us believe the words we are saying to be truth.
Taking it even further, Ruiz declares gossip to be the worst form of black magic. He calls it, (and love this!) emotional poison. When someone tells you something about another person before you have had a chance to form your own opinions, they are infecting you with emotional poison. This poison makes it more difficult to formulate a non bias opinion, which you then spread to another person, who spreads it to another and so on.
When in reality, the original source of this information may have been motivated by less than honorable intentions. They cast a spell on you with their word, you unknowingly accept it and proceed to cast the same spell on yourself and those around you. All the while spreading this poison with no idea that you are doing it.
Now that’s a scary thought! I don’t know about you, but I can think of several occasions when I have been the victim of this. It’s frustrating and demeaning the moment you realize you have played right in to someone’s hands.
When I read this, the first example I thought of was years ago with a girl I worked with. I had been warned of her backstabbing tendencies, but I decided to give her a chance and formulate my own opinion. That was the right thing to do, but unfortunately, she was much better at “casting spells” than I realized. At first, I kept her at a distance and slowly tested her by telling her some small piece of info (nothing actually secret of ‘course) to see if it came back around. For months, there was no incident and I was enjoying my time spent with her. She was funny and not afraid to boast her opinion or stand up for what she believed in. I admired that. I couldn’t understand why I had received the warning about her?!
Eventually, I asked her about the things I heard and she presented a very believable argument supporting my assumption that I had received misinformation. So, I finally opened up to her. Big mistake!! She almost immediately began the process of ruining my life. Looking back now, it’s almost like she made a list of everything I cared about and attacked each item one by one; job, love, friends, etc. She went behind my back and told incredibly elaborate lies to anyone and everyone she could. She made it look like she was acting as a concerned friend so that her lies would be more believable. I won’t go in to too much detail, but let just say she almost caused me to lose my job, many close friends and completely shattered my self-esteem (after she built it up, which made it worse).
I made it out of this mess virtually unscathed. Only because I began running interference as soon as I realized what she was doing. She ended up quitting and most of us were glad to see her go! If anyone can be accused of using their word as black magic it would be her. To this day, I refuse to say her name aloud, but my friends know who I am referring to when I say, “she who shall not be named”, and we all chuckle 🙂
These people are not the people we need to surround ourselves with. They are spreading emotional poison with their words, taking away our joy and distracting us from spreading seeds of love. Sadly in some cases this person may be someone you are related to and therefore feel an obligation to them to take their abuse, but this is not a benefit to your future.
I know it can be hard. One of my cousins was so terrible with her words. She would put me down and say the most hateful things when she didn’t get her way. I put up with it for years. I was always there for her when she really needed me, but I refused to participate in the her side of the family’s social gatherings. There is a laundry list of reasons as to why, but I’ll try to summarize my reasoning for you as best as I can. This cousin is on my grandmother’s side of the family. My grandmother and grandfather bought the house where my grandmother and her sisters grew up (her mother’s house; my great-grandmother). My grandmother told her sisters that in the event of her and her husband’s passing that the house would be sold and the money split between the sisters. Much to their surprise, my grandmother passed away first and my grandfather changed the will, leaving me the house. Talk about making a bunch of enemies overnight!
Anyway, this divided the family and guess who received the blame? Yup, me! The house and the assets were held in trust for several years under the watchful eyes of two of these relatives. For years, they tried to take the house from me and even used thousands of dollars from the estate to hire an attorney, which cause me to hire an attorney (out my pocket) to save my grandparents legacy.
In addition to this, I was able to view some email correspondence between them that was extremely hurtful and unnecessary. So, you can imagine why I have no desire to attend their family occasions! Every year, my cousin would ask me to go and then when I would say no, she would bash me with insults and hurtful wishes for my demise.
I took this for years and then one day I simply had enough. I responded to her chain of insulting text messages with “Wow, you are a really mean person. I did not realize you were so perfect. Good luck to you, I will no longer be taking this abuse.” I hit send, blocked her number and deleted her from Facebook!
There are not many people who have brought me to take such drastic measures. I have no malice towards these people, but rather sadness that their hearts are filled with such emotional poison.
Ruiz writes, “Impeccability of the word can lead you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it can take away all the fear and transform it into joy and love.”
I hope this has planted a seed of love and encouragement for everyone to try their best to be impeccable with their word. It is a difficult task, but surely one of the most rewarding!