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Dangerous use of words
on 24 May 2013
Ironic, for a title that preaches using 'impeccable words'. The book has good intentions, but there is nothing unique about these ideas that have not been spoken about (more articulately, I should add) elsewhere. To choose one's words carefully is a good practice for everyone, but to label anything less than words of love as 'spells' and 'black magic' is problematic. It's about the most unpractical 'practical guide' I've come across. It is not possible to function in society without the ability to assess something (to judge--another no-no) and to make an intelligent, considered response.
The examples used in the book are pretty ridiculous, using a little girl's reaction to the word 'ugly' as the cornerstone for this preaching. Of course one should not use such crushing words to a person about their appearance--but that isn't so much about using words wisely, that's just a lesson to not bully!
Where are the practical tips on how to be assertive and retain loving integrity? If to speak a harsh word to anyone is 'black magic' then how can one find justice? This book seems to assume just your personal relationships, but that's easy enough to focus solely on because generally we have love for the people close to us. But how does this book apply to dealing with others, in a professional environment? Or in a circumstance when a complaint is necessary through neglect or, at worst, abuse from someone? This book does not address that, and if you take this book word for word then you instantly fall into a paradoxical existence.
The term 'agreement' in this book is the same thing that is known more widely as Core Beliefs within conventional therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
I agree with the other one star reviews on here, that the points laid out in this book make no real sense. The second agreement is to not take things personally. So why is there a need for agreement rule one, of impeccable speech? Why bother at all to be mindful of your words when the next lesson is not to take anyone else's words personally? It negates the object. And just as another fellow reviewer pointed out, if we never take critism to heart then we are refusing to learn from mistakes. I've grown enormously in my life from taking on board hurtful home truths.
Another of the agreements is to not make assumptions. Again, the pitfalls are obvious. It is our ability to judge and assess a situation that can keep us safe, and assumptions play a very large role in our ability to assess. It plays a large role in what we like better to call 'gut instinct'. It's actually very important. Assessing life leads to the greatest successes we experience--fulfilling the soul's desire to love another who is the right person for us. Without assessing or making 'assumptions', I'd still be in the relationship I was at age 15, and I would not be a happier person for it, I can tell you that!
The examples used throughout this book are for the small world. The harsh word to the child. The wrong way we perceive a smile (or a frown) from a stranger in the mall. If these are my biggest worries in life, then I live in a miraculous world. Unfortunately, this is not my reality. I don't believe it's anyone's, except maybe the author's. The last of the four agreements is to always do one's best. That is a good reminder if we've forgotten, but hardly worth paying the exorbitant price of this tiny little paperback for. Which brings me to pull into question the author's own practices. Don Miguel Ruiz--is deciding, along with your publisher, to charge your readers over twice the minimum hourly wage for a tiny paperback book your view of doing your best?