Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. ~ Robert Burns

Many times, we can start something, make plans, try to help someone else, and yet it doesn’t go as we had planned. In fact, sometimes it can end up as a huge failure.

Our intentions can be absolutely good and worthwhile. We can feel that what we are planning and doing is the right path. We can even convince ourselves that it is going much better than it actually is because it’s hard to admit we have been wrong.

In some of these instances, our well-meaning errors only affect ourselves. However, in other less fortunate circumstances, these best laid plans affect others and that is when we can feel even worse.

The effects on ourselves can still be costly. If not in money, in other ways such as on our emotions, which can affect our physical health and on our thoughts about our ability to make good decisions. So we can begin to question ourselves, our intelligence, our intentions.

The effects on others can be more costly. Best laid plans may seem the right path to us, even for others, but when we try to decide or guide the paths of others and they are unable or unwilling to follow them, the cost can be high. Anger, loss of trust, loss of relationships, and emotional turmoil. Even with the best of intentions, we have to remember that others need to choose their own paths.

So what happens when our best laid plans go wrong? Outside of the things mentioned above, we are usually presented with some choices. The choices of how to continue now that we realize our error and the choice to learn from making the error so as not to repeat it.

Choosing to continue isn’t really a choice, life goes on. Choosing in what way we continue, however, is a choice. We can continue with trying to be better and do better or we can continue with being angry or depressed about our errors.

Choosing to learn and not repeat is a full on choice that we have to make ourselves. We can choose not to learn and ignore our responsibility in the error and we can choose to continue to repeat it suffering over and over and possibly causing others to suffer as well.

The best laid plans with the sincerest of intentions can look and sound brilliant to us, but in reality our perceptions can be wrong. Errors are unavoidable in life. We humans are flawed and we make mistakes. But we are also able to learn and grow and that is the beginning of every mislaid plan.

Until next time, Deborah

Be Impeccable

In Michael Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements the first agreement is Be Impeccable With Your Word.  It is first because it is the most important and the one that is necessary to be able to accomplish the other three.

To understand this agreement, it is necessary that to understand the definition of “word” in this context.  The Word (capital W) is a force that we create with and includes all that we express.  Not just spoken words, but emotions, actions, thoughts, and attitudes. All of this is the Word.

To express ourselves impeccably means to express ourselves in the direction of truth and love including love, respect, and acceptance for ourselves.  The emotions of jealousy, envy, sadness, and frustration are not impeccable.  The emotions of anger and fear are also usually not impeccable except in the case of having to fight for your life.  If you lose your job something you have worked your whole life to have and are angry and fearful, these are emotionally painful, but your life is not in danger therefore these emotions are not impeccable.

The direction of truth does not include someone speaking “my truth” or “their truth”.  Those kinds of truth are only someone’s opinion of the truth, not necessarily the truth and are viewed by others under the lens of their own truth.  Because someone believes what they are saying is the truth doesn’t mean it is THE truth.  It is an opinion that can be filled with judgments and hard emotions.  When you are impeccable you do not need to defend what you say as the truth.

Another part of being impeccable is to be without fault or blame.  Truly one of the hardest things to accomplish.  It has taken years for us to form the agreements we have made with ourselves and others regarding our own fault, the fault of others, and the blame we have placed for every situation in our lives.  Being impeccable means to refrain from criticism, judgement, or finding fault with yourself and others not just in the words you speak but the thoughts that you think.  This single change allows us to take total responsibility for our own lives.

Being impeccable also leads into the second agreement Never Take Anything Personally.  For example, if you have 100% faith in your intelligence and someone calls you stupid and you feel hurt or offended, you have allowed yourself to take that personally and believe even a tiny bit of what they said is true.  You give them the power to change your faith in yourself.  Be impeccable with your Word to yourself.

Being impeccable means to be truthful, honest, and kind in what is spoken, what is done, what is thought, and what is felt.  It sounds easy, but it is difficult to undo the years of learning to use our Word to be dishonest and unkind to ourselves and others.  Learning to be impeccable is a one moment at a time journey that requires thinking before talking to ourselves or others, doing to ourselves or others, thinking to ourselves or about others, or emotions we place on ourselves or others.  Will you be able to be impeccable always? No – but you can keep trying in each moment of your life and by doing so the happiness and love for yourself and others will only increase.

The Four Agreements:

Be Impeccable With Your Word

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Don’t Make Assumptions

Always Do Your Best