Be Impeccable With Your Word

How this 1st of 4 agreements can help us return to civility

Quotes from each of the four US Presidents memorialized on Mount Rushmore:

George Washington — The 1st President of the United States of America

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” ― George Washington

Thomas Jefferson — The 4th President of the United States of America

“Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.” ― Thomas Jefferson

Theodore Roosevelt — The 26th President of the United States of America

“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Abraham Lincoln — The 16th President of the United States of America

“in times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.”
Abraham Lincoln

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

In his landmark book “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” Author Don Miguel Ruiz defined the 1st of 4 Agreements.

(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.

My question now is, what conditions must exist that each of us individually and all of us collectively, can or will decide to return to this simplest of truths?

Would any of us admit that we follow this principle 100% of the time? I know I don’t.

No matter who we are. do we Speak with integrity, meaning the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness or the state of being whole and undivided?

Could we, collectively as a nation, in view or our recent history and current events conclude that we are honest, morally upright and maybe even more importantly in a state of being whole and undivided? I cannot say that of myself, can you?

Say only what you mean. Can we say what we mean without rhetorical commentary which obscures the truth in order to make a point or to influence for personal gain?

Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. As the electoral process continues and the board rooms of America become increasingly active in legislation, as it has since I was a child in the 1950’s, the art of mudslinging has acted like a tick engorging itself on the blood of its victims. In this case, the process of debasing a colleague or opponent at the expense of focusing on issues imperative to sustain our very lives becomes more prominent.

In my view, when I speak ill of another human being I have indelibly harmed myself as it is my opinion and belief that we are all connected and a verbal jab at an opponent is like punching myself in the face, yet this seems to be acceptable and the norm in our society.

Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. Am I calling for perfection? No. I am asking myself and each person who reads this article to consciously and conscientiously consider what we say to others because what we say to another we bestow upon ourselves. The verbal mutilation or assassination of character will ultimately destroy us.

The men who sit atop Mount Rushmore gave us a glimpse, not of perfection, but a sense of dignity to be used as a standard to improve upon. Each of them represents a time in our history when great decisions and intestinal fortitude were necessary in view of the grave obstacles before our nation, as it is today.

This article is not intended to be a political commentary. It is meant to call attention to the possibility that I/we may have an opportunity to grasp a different perspective of our times. That we might look honestly at how we speak of and to each other and to ourselves and ask…is there another way for us to come together? Is there another way for us to demonstrate truth and love, another way to live that is not divisive, but unifying for the sake of our futures and the future of our country and of global posterity.

For additional perspective on this subject please see this article. It further explains that I long for the day when we return to civility. https://blog.usejournal.com/longing-for-a-return-to-civility-9e71ed59ef35

Peace be with each of you!

Namaste!

A believer in Lifelong Learning and Collaborative Wisdom, remembering Who I AM through essay, story, and poetry. Listening for narratives that nurture Life.

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