All this talk about cognitive psychology and the power of thoughts in my introductory psychology classes has reminded me of a great book by Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements. My son gave it to me for my birthday a few years ago, and when I finally got around to reading it, I was amazed at the power of the agreements. They’re so simple and yet so profound.

Back to the subject at hand…thoughts. The first agreement is “Be impeccable with your word.” Dr. Ruiz reminds the reader that impeccable comes from the Latin word pecatus which means sin, and adding the im to peccable means without sin. He then goes on to say that everything we feel or believe or say that goes against ourselves is a sin. Bottom line: Don’t engage in negative self-talk. Anytime you tell yourself “I can’t,” or “I’m a loser,” or “I’m stupid, ugly, mean,” then you’re sinning against yourself.

To quote him from page 45: “Tell yourself how wonderful you are, how great you are. Tell yourself how much you love yourself. Use the word to break all those teeny, tiny agreements that make you suffer….Impeccability of the word can lead you to personal freedom, to huge success and abundance; it can take away all fear and transform it into joy and love…. you can transcend the dream of fear and live a different life.”

It’s a great little book, one that you can read in a couple of hours but that will affect your thinking forever (or at least for a long time). For now, react to the gist of the the “agreement.” Do you think that thoughts are so powerful that by changing them, we can transcend the dream of fear and live a different life? Are the thoughts we have about ourselves really that important?