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Be Impeccable with Your Word

In the book The Four Agreements, the author Miguel Ruiz offers a code for living a life of peace and happiness. The first principle Miguel offers in this code of conduct for your life is Be Impeccable with your Word. It is much more difficult than it seems. People often tell me that they are pretty good at being impeccable with their word but struggle with the agreement Don’t Take Things Personally.

What people are surprised to find out is that if they are taking things personally, then they are not being impeccable.

What does it mean to be impeccable with your word?

First of all we have to consider our Word to be much more than the construct of words and phrases that comes out of our mouth. Our Word is the force that we create with and includes everything we express. It includes our emotions, physical actions, thoughts and our attitude. Walking around being silent while filled with hate or self rejection doesn’t meet the meaning of impeccability.

Expressing yourself impeccably is to express your self in the direction of truth and love. This includes expressing love, respect, and acceptance for your self. The emotions of jealousy, envy, frustration, and sadness fall into the category of not being impeccable. Anger and fear usually fall into the category of not being impeccable also. However there is the exception of a real life threatening situation where natural fight or flight fear and anger are come from your emotional integrity. However in most cases people don’t face real life threatening situations very often.

Losing your job or finding out your partner is cheating on you doesn’t count as a real fight or flight situation. These may be painful situations emotionally as life is changing and the ego shattered, but the life of your physical body isn’t in any danger. Most of the time anger and fear seem to fall into the category of not being impeccable.

I’ve heard people say that they were speaking “their truth” about a situation and so they believed they were being impeccable. When people claim to be speaking “their truth”, they are often speaking their opinion that they believe is right. Because they believe their opinion doesn’t mean it is the truth. To anyone else it is just an opinion and can be filled with judgments and unpleasant emotions. When you are impeccable you don’t need to defend what you say by claiming it is impeccable.

Another aspect of being impeccable is to be with out fault or blame. That means to refrain from expressing criticisms, judgments, or find fault with your self, or someone else. Being without criticism in your expression doesn’t just mean with the words you speak, but with the thoughts you think also. Refraining from blaming people will lead you to take total responsibility for your life.

While this may seem like a pretty big shift in our consciousness it gets bigger when we expand the meaning to include not finding fault with the world. Being impeccable means seeing the world without rejecting it for the way it is. It doesn’t mean being in denial about the way people mistreat each. It just means that you don’t judge or reject people or the world for they way it is. Cleaning up the judgments in our mind can seem like quite the task when we consider how easy it is to become critical of things like politics, pollution, violence, crime, or traffic. It may take a while to empty our mind of criticisms but it can be done.

You might think of being impeccable as being compassionate and accepting of others. You recognize and are aware of what people do, but you find a way to accept them as they are. When you see they don’t know the number of ways they are hurting each other and themselves you can forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.

How are you not being impeccable when you take something personally?

When you take something personally you feel offended. Perhaps you are offended because someone said you were stupid. If you had 100% faith in your intelligence you would know that it was just their opinion and you wouldn’t believe their opinion. When you are aware and don’t believe them it doesn’t hurt emotionally.

If you feel hurt it is because you believed some part of the idea that you are stupid. When you express even a tiny bit of your faith in that opinion of stupidity you are expressing your faith in a self rejection. Your faith is a powerful part of your Word. Expressing your Word in a manner of self rejection is how we take something personally.

Being impeccable with your Word is about being truthful, honest, and kind. It is very simple, but not necessarily easy. We have learned many habits over the years that condition us to use our emotional and verbal expressions in unkind ways. Just the way that we talk to ourselves in our own mind can be so unpleasant.

To keep this one simple agreement to be impeccable with your Word will require some time and practice to master. Don’t assume that you will master it in your lifetime. At the same time, don’t assume that you wont. Just know that every year that you become more impeccable with your Word you will have more love and happiness in your life and relationships.

A quick reference as to what the Four Agreements are:

Be Impeccable with your Word
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Assumptions
Always Do Your Best

2 Responses to “Be Impeccable with Your Word”


  1. 1 Rosalyn Mantle Dec 6th, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Being Impeccable with your word means something entirely different to me. Don Miguel explains that each of us live within a “dream.” It is essentially our perception of our reality. It consists of our morals, our values, our mores’ and those concepts we have learned by virtue of our family, our society, and our influences.
    Our word is like a sword and can slice through the belief systems of others.
    Here is an example. I am a very intense person. I have a lot of energy and work hard because I was taught by my parents that hard work will result in prosperity. To me, having motivation, being active and working are all positive attributes. They taught us to be very observant. However, I met a man who criticized me and said, you worry a lot, you are very intense, and you sweat the small stuff and are not self assured.
    Those negative perceptions he had of me caused me a great deal of sadness. What I had been taught were positives he had assessed as negatives. Suddenly, I began to question my dream. That is what is meant by being impeccable with your word. You must be aware of the feelings of others. You may not say something necessarily unkind, just unaware of the dream of another and what you say may destroy their perception of happiness. It’s different than just saying unkind things to me.

  2. 2 Gary Dec 21st, 2008 at 4:11 am

    I have found in my journey over years of spending time with don Miguel that my understanding of “Impeccable” has evolved. It doesn’t mean what it use to. I didn’t have the insight then that I do now. I’m also not clinging to my definition. I remain flexible with the intent that I will expand my understanding in years to come.

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