My friend Gerri said this quote yesterday when we were having a conversation. Gerry is one of those friends who is generous with sharing her wisdom. And her life experiences have earned her the title of possessing that wisdom. This generated a whole string of thoughts I have had since our conversation.
I really get upset when someone makes a promise to me and does not see it through. In fact, in my past, I took broken promises very hard and very personal. I have had broken promises cause me deep resentment, and destroyed several relationships in my life. I am not proud of this at all. But it is part of the stuff inside my head that was keeping me fat so many years. I have and am working through many of my character flaws.
I see now, how, although keeping your word is very important, I put too much stock in the promises made. Where this goes wrong is what was behind my expectation. Honestly, I think sometimes I held onto promises so strongly because in my insecure head, it was a way someone proved their love for me, and when it was broken it gave me the message I was not valued. I did not matter. I could then blame the transgresses for my disappointment, and wallow in self pity. I took this so personal, because I was searching for validation from anyone and anything I could grasp onto.
I want to be clear, I am not saying that breaking a promise is ever OK, and I should just let it roll off my back. Promises are very important to keep. A person’s word should always be good, it is part if having good integrity. If someone continually breaks promises, we should make sure to set boundrays and make sure not to set ourself up for disappointment. I’m just owning my part in some of my desperate expectations. But we have no control over anyone. Almost all of my resentments (and I have had many) were based on my expectations.
Does this mean we should not expect anything? Live a life believing we don’t deserve anything good and become a doormat? NO! Exactly the opposite. When we finally come to terms with how value and lovable we are, we no longer need validation from outside forces. The disgrace of a broken promise is left to the one who broke the promise, not the “Promisee”. Listen, there will be disappointments and broken promised throughout our lives. But that is not because of our lack of value, as a friend or human. When we can get to this place, we can avoid a whole lot of resentment, and losing so much self esteem.
OK, this comes to the real point I wanted to make. The promises we do need to make, and keep are the promises we make to ourselves. We should have expectations for them. Keeping these promises elevate our self worth. These promises should be solid, no matter how small. It is one of the highest forms of self care. If you promise yourself you will clean the kitchen, keep that promise. If you tell yourself you are going to do volunteer work, keep that promise as well. But the promises to eat better, exercise, be kind and grow spiritually, are sacred promises. These are the ones that change our lives. It is important to honor the promises you make to yourself.
I think about how hurt and resentful I use to get when a promise was broken. Then I think about the broken promises I made to myself, And I never took them as hard as the ones others broke to me.
I have become much better at keeping my word to myself, that is part of the reason I have lost 131 pounds in the last 11 months. But I am realizing even more, how important it is. When I don’t feel like going to the pool, or eating a healthy dinner. These are life changing promises. Not keeping them could even mean death to me.
When we look at promises from this perspective we bring a whole new level of integrity to our road to good health. Blessings to all of you!