A few weeks ago, I was part of a conversation where someone, I thought, accused me and others of my group, of not having integrity. That statement hurt me in a way that I couldn’t immediately articulate. Others of my companions said it wasn’t a big deal and I should get over it. It took a lot of thought and prayer and I eventually forgave the person for making the statement but it didn’t change the fact that the statement had been said.
Today, I’m reading a small book entitled The Four Agreements. It’s a pretty old book, first published twenty years ago so you might have heard of it and read it yourself and if you have, you’ll understand maybe why those words, that accusation impacted me so deeply.
I love the Bible story where the woman was caught in adultery and brought to Jesus. It was the accusers’ intent to trick Jesus into punishing her or failing to punish her, both of which would’ve been wrong in their eyes. Jesus’ response was a statement, you who are without sin, cast the first stone to punish. That is how I try to live my life. I try not to cast judgment where I would also fall short. I have sinned. I have done wrong. I have made terrible decisions. I think we all have. But I try to speak life into my present actions. When I make a commitment, I would like to believe that I am going to keep it. Even if circumstances render it impossible, I do everything I can to keep my promises. To say that I am not a person of integrity when I do everything I can to try to be, well that’s just hard for me to believe and accept about myself because I know the work I put into becoming a person who keeps her word. And because I don’t know what you’ve been through, I try not to judge your actions either.
But back to the book. The Four Agreements. The first of the four agreements is being impeccable with your word. That word impeccable means to use your words to say positive statements instead of negative. It means to use the energy that is in you and the power that is in you to make peace and love instead of ripping down what others have built. We cannot change what others say about us. What we can change is what we say about ourselves.
I think that person’s statement hurt me because I was afraid that despite what I have done, despite my best attempts, that maybe I am not a person of integrity after all. It exposed the fears I harbor in my own heart. But another person’s statement about me doesn’t matter. it shouldn’t.
The most important statements made about you are the ones you make yourself.
I am so grateful to be reading this book. If you haven’t yet, I recommend it.
Click to purchase The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.
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