be impeccable with your word

be impeccable with your word


"Be impeccable with your word". This is the first and most important rule referenced in the book The Four Agreements. Like many noble values, it can be easier said than done. How do we practically pursue being impeccable with our word? 

Aspiring to accurately represent ourselves requires first knowing ourselves. Herein lies our challenge. People are, one hopes, constantly growing and evolving creatures. Sometimes life moves so quickly that, even if we once had an accurate impression of ourselves, we may not be aware of the ways in which we've changed until much later.

Still, I think our best bet is with a commitment to one's consistent self-examination. I was recently presented with a wonderful new opportunity this spring. I was over the moon, flattered and honored, but under those feelings were nagging others: anxiety, fear, doubt. What if I couldn't produce an outcome they'd be happy with? I was mid-conversation with a friend when I realized after all the selling I've been doing this year, their yes was somehow scarier than a no.

And that got me thinking: yeses are always scarier than nos. No is straightforward, unambiguous, a swift course-correct. We do not agonize over a no. But yeses have skin in the game. Emotions are involved. We analyze pros and cons, and risk being pulled in different directions. Yes is weighty. Yes is a commitment.

The goal, at least for me, isn't to be so ahead of the curve by trying to anticipate every last possibility in life or how I'll react in those moments. Life will unfold how it unfolds, and it's more enjoyable remaining unknown. What I care more about is staying curious, particularly when my own emotions surprise me. I get to play both active participant and observer in this journey with myself.

Writing helps me get closer to that place. Painting helps me get closer to that place. I love keeping journals and writing letters for this reason. Somehow in the solitude and quiet, I become more accessible to myself. And I hope that forges a path to being more authentic and accessible to others.

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