Today’s message may not be for all of my amazing readers. If the words do not add encouragement to your life, pass by this issue, and please come back next week.
Be Impeccable With Your Words
“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
The Power of Words
I would dare say that you know how to wield the power of words in the lives of those you love, those you like and those you’d like to knock down a peg or two…or three.
We all have a favorite phrase or a few favorite words that we know with certainty can slay the mighty, or uplift the broken or perhaps even provide a bit of comfort to friends and family when the world goes awry.
I have come to believe that words are the outward echo of who we really are.
Without a doubt, on most days, we are very well versed in knowing what words will build our team towards success, what words could calm a family issue and what to say to a friend who needs to hear that they still matter in this world of 7 billion people and counting.
With that in mind, I want to introduce you to a quote by Don Miguel Ruiz who said,
“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
This is my theme for today, and before we get started, please know that I am writing what has been placed on my heart from what I have seen this year in my travels on the road, in airports, hotel lobbies and conferences rooms waiting to speak or speaking.
I can turn on any news show in any state, at any time and hear critical, angry, snarky and in some cases downright hateful language filling the airways more than I can ever remember.
Remember, “Be impeccable with your word.”
I hear and see comments by people who have no real standing in the world, but who, in hopes of garnering a few more like-minded followers on media sites, are willing to spew incendiary remarks in order to be the blip of the day in the social media world.
Think back on reading the numerous exchanges on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. If you’re like me, you wonder what on earth prompted a casual friend or stranger to post such inflammatory rhetoric on your wall or on that of a friend.
Who are these people who think they have the right to correct (as they see fit) or comment or conclude that the original writer’s intent was up for discussion? Why do they think the world wants to hear their caustic dismissal of an issue someone else cares about?
Without a doubt you’ve “un-friended” or “un-followed” more people in the past year than in all your time online; I know I have. I’ve grown weary of remarks by unremarkable people. Call me crazy, but I am not interested in venomous opinions on the issues of the day. Now, that being said, I am delighted to read thoughtful content that is not tinged with unpleasantness. I am always looking to learn something new or something I didn’t know the full extent of, but shrieking that Snopes says my opinion is wrong and needs to be made right, has made the world a sad, sad place for congenial conversation that teaches and touches the lives of others.
And while I’m on my tiny 30-second soapbox, I do wish people wouldn’t hide behind the false kindness of comments such as, just trying to set the record straight so as not to embarrass you. If you are the Snopes police or an eager commenter, admit you are doing for vainglory and know it does not reflect well on you. Remember to “Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
Be patient and think things through before taking action.
I am not interested in wading into the realm of politics, education or religion, but I do wish that we could all remember that our words identify our core to others, and with that in mind, we would do well to think before we speak and type out an opinion for all to see. We would all do well to “Avoid using the word to speak against [ourselves] or to gossip about others.”
But if you persist and if in your thinking you still feel the need to lash out against whatever injustice that crosses your own opinion, just consider the cost to you personally. The nasty cut you have inflicted upon your own soul for the rage of your own righteousness will cost you more than you can ever imagine. The universe works that way.
Give your opinion long enough, and soon you will find that you are talking to yourself because no one wants to be associated with the unkind likes of you. This is a slippery slope that you’re on. Now you’ve cut off the few friends and family who could speak a word or two of reason to you, but even they are walking out the door.
And I’ll add that people who believe you’ve crossed the line of basic decency in your comments will write you off forever. Soon you’ll be all alone if you cannot keep quiet when the issue isn’t that important, and you give in to an insatiable need to always have the last word.
Only you can decide if it is worth the cost to lose a friend, colleague, or family member over your opinion-of-the-day.
Hear me, please, one day you will speak the last word you ever speak to someone who at one time cared about you because they will have had enough and will then walk away never to return.
Taking it one step further, let me remind you that those who agree with your opinion still won’t be your friend because they, like you, have as great a need as you do to have followers dislike the same things.
Careless words carry weight.
For what it’s worth, I have come to believe that some people have damaged their original gentle soul by not forgiving, overlooking or even excusing the hurtful words of their childhood. Not that those words should ever have been said to any child, but holding on to that childhood pain today has manifested into a dogmatic, intolerant, self-opinionated and hurtful adult.
The greatest sadness is that this causes permanent damage, which is why these people cannot and will not guard their words. They find redemption in spewing back to a world that spoke harshly to them when they could not protect themselves.
If you are someone who cares for a person like this, you will notice that they have allowed their hurt to overtake their logical mind, so they have little to no room for forgiveness for themselves or others, which is why they lash out at anyone they think they can hurt. They mistakenly think you will feel the sting of their self-inflicted pain when in reality, what they don’t realize is that all you will feel for them is sadness for their state of mind and heart.
Dear friend, if you are in this circle of hurt and self-harm, please re-read the opening quote of today’s message and take it to heart before you lose everything and everyone you ever loved or whoever loved you.
To the friends and family, if you find yourself on the other end of ceaseless conversations of this sort, please walk away. These are damaged people who will not get help until they find themselves alone with their brokenness and even then there is only a slight chance for healing, as sad as it is to say.
I firmly believe if we take the Ruiz quote to heart, to “Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love,” we have a chance to re-set the calendar for the rest of our lives.
And wouldn’t it be great to be a part of a new movement for good? By using the one thing we have–the ability to speak with kindness–we could change the tone of the conversations around us. I know that is a tall order to fill, and I also know that we are getting close to a tipping point if we don’t do something about the conversations around us sooner rather than later.
Why not listen instead of speaking.
In my own life, I have purposely stepped back from always being the voice in and of the group. Sure, I can speak well, but that’s not the point. My heart’s desire is to help others learn to speak up, so their voice and ideas are heard; so the conversation has a chance to wander to a new path of discussion, healthy debate and learning for all involved.
I will say, when I started listening more and talking less it was a surprise to a few of my closest friends who noticed the change in me, but within a short amount of time they filled the silence with words that were pleasant, inspiring and uplifting. I was enlightened, informed and educated on topics I needed to know and enjoyed hearing about.
I am fully aware that today’s message is hard and it is not in the usual vein of encouragement and inspiration, but I felt the pull to speak what I consider truth to power. We all need to watch our words–once spoken, they can never be taken back, even if you speak to yourself, and the harm we inflict on others could very well be lifelong.
So I will add this verse to the others that I have learned to live my life by, because I do believe it is my responsibility to myself to be impeccable with my words, to speak with integrity, to say what I mean and to leave gossip aside and use the power of the gift of words in truth and love. I hope you will join me on this journey.