Most people value their word to people. It’s a statement of who you are. If you make a sincere promise to someone, you’ll try pretty hard not to break that promise if you’re any kind of a decent person. Fundamentally we do that because we don’t want people thinking we’re a liar. Someone who says they’ll do something and then just blows it off. Just changes their mind. “Guess what, I’m not gonna do that after all”. Most of us really hate that kind of person so we try not to be that person.
Yup, keeping our word and following through with the promises we make to people is pretty important to most of us. Until that is, we’re speaking to ourselves. For some reason the promises we make to ourselves is nowhere near as important to us as the promises we make to other people. Maybe it’s because we don’t see them as promises that must be kept.
Even if we make a statement in the most grandiose and public of ways, most of us are perfectly ok with just bailing on it. Promises to other people? The very definition of who we are. Promises to ourselves though? Completely optional, with no consequences if broken.
I don’t know, maybe it’s because it’s just me, so there’s nobody else in the picture to disappoint. Nobody else’s opinion to worry about. If I decide not to do it it’s just me, right? How sad that is, when you think about it.
What if we really did see everything we say we’ll do as a genuine, bonafide promise? One that is directly connected to people’s perception of us? One that, if broken will carry the same consequences as those we break to other people?
The truth is unlike other people’s perception of us, our perception of ourselves doesn’t change much if we continually break commitments, fail to see things through, fall short of doing what we said we’d do. Which to me can only mean that our word carries real weight and value only when it’s spoken to other people, not to ourselves.
Seems to me though, that if there was ever promises we should all endeavor to never break, it should be the ones we make to ourselves. I guess for that to happen though, we have to somehow change our mindest. We have to somehow learn to assign the same level of importance to the things we promise ourselves as we do the things we promise everyone else. And breaking a promise to ourselves must come with the same, if not greater, consequences.