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Hurtful Words


Some books just stay with you. For years, I read and reread and reread "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay. It was my self-care bible, and I carried it around like a blankie... even though I was well into adulthood.

For the past few years, I've felt the same way about "The Four Agreements," by Don Miguel Ruiz. I've read and reread it too, and listened to the audiobook over and over.

You would think that steeping my mind in these lessons:

1) Be impeccable with you word,

2) Don't take anything personally,

3) Don't make assumptions,

4) Always do your best...

would keep me on the uplifted path.

But yesterday, I was reminded of the power of triggers, and especially how this affects #1: Be impeccable with your word.

Impeccable speech can be the most difficult thing we ever undertake. Forget climbing mountains, healing our bodies, getting a new job or a healthy relationship... Being impeccable with our word seems like the supreme worthy goal, and a truly difficult one!

If we take responsibility for our words and speak with integrity, carefully choosing our words before saying them aloud > we can so deeply improve our lives and the planet. Increasingly, I am doing this. It feels good and liberating. It helps my mind feel cleaner in the same way cutting out sugar and caffeine helps my body feel cleaner too.

One BIG thing that can stand in the way of my impeccable word is something called a trigger. A trigger, for me, is an old and unhealed wound or agreement I have made (usually against myself). Maybe someone has put me down, and I have let them. Or I put myself down - which is also not being impeccable with my word towards myself.

Then, I end up extra sensitive and overly responsive when someone mentions something related to this trigger. They may even mention it in a joking way - except if it's a wound for me, then there's no joking about it. Unfortunately, my mild-mannered and good mannered self can quickly turn into my primitive, wounded and mean :( self.

Here are a few tips to keep this unhelpful reaction from happening and a few reminders if it does!

1) A willingness to do your personal growth work: this means going to therapy, reading good books, exploring your shadow nature, committing to addressing and transforming your pain from the past and your triggers into healing,

2) A willingness to own your own words and behavior: even if someone triggers us intentionally and especially unintentionally, our response is our responsibility. Stop blaming others for your own poor word choices,

3) A willingness to promptly apologize and even explain your behavior: Apologies are valuable and especially powerful when you also commit to 1) and 2) above. Apologizing doesn't have to mean shaming or blaming yourself, but just seeing that your behavior is not helpful and you are willing to own it and make amends where possible.

And here are a few healing reminders too:

2) Don't take anything personally,

3) Don't make assumptions,

4) Always do your best!

If you say something hurtful, it's about you not the other person (and vice versa). When you say something hurtful, or someone says something hurtful, do not make assumptions - the old idea that there's some truth in it > is not always true.

And, most importantly >>> just show up in life and do your best. Brene Brown offers a positive behavior to try when you make a mistake or something hasn't worked out. It's called circling around and trying again. You can redo the conversation and rewrite the script. Ask the person you've hurt to do that with you, if possible.

Trying again also works even if the person you've been mean to is yourself.

"But it is not what I am saying that is hurting you; it is that you have wounds that I touch by what I have said. You are hurting yourself. There is no way I can take this personally."

- Don Miguel Ruiz

"I commit to healing my own wounds so that I am not wounded by things anyone says to me. And, I do not say hurtful things to myself. When I am impeccable with my word to me, I will be more impeccable with my word to others. This is my contribution to personal peace and world peace."

- Amy J. Williams and (Insert___ Your___ Name____ Here)


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