Promises have always been a part of my life. I think that my earliest experience with a promise, was my promise that I memorized when I was a Brownie Girl Scout.
“On my honor, I will try to serve God, and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law.”
I memorized the words easily, and enjoyed saying them together with the other girls in my troop, in unison, with a bit of rhythm to it. There was no doubt in my eight year old mind, that I wanted to help others, serve God, and live by the Girl scout law. I wanted to be a good person. That was certain.
The Pledge of Allegiance; again, saying it in rhythm and unison with all of my classmates, hand over my heart, promising to honor the flag, and my country, and to be a good citizen. I can only vaguely remember that daily reciting from my school days; however, I can imagine that it was of utmost importance to know that I really meant those words, to be a good person.
Later on, the promises to my mother that I would not make bad choices; be careful; not drive with anyone in the car. Promises that I felt compelled to state, to say the words, but at times, circumstances would change, and the promise would not be kept.
Of course, there was always a good reason.
I ran out of time. My friend really needed a ride. I knew better than my mom, that driving faster than the speed limit, or smoking dope and then driving, I knew that I could handle it. Moms just worry, right? I would just be careful and it wouldn’t really be like going against my word, would it?
Then, later on in my adulthood, there were the relationship promises. I promise that we will always be together. I promise that I will never leave you. I promise that I will only ever love you. At the time, with all of my good intentions, I believed those words fully. I believed in my love for the other. I believed that I would always be with that person only. Then, life happens. Things change, challenges occur, people stop talking.
And, then, as I had done earlier in my life, I would break those promises I vowed to keep.
In the last few months, promises have come to mean something a bit different to me, yet, not so different. As part of my coaching experience through the Handel Group, my work involves making a set of promises, ones that include all of our life areas, and then, setting about the business of keeping them. The principle is, that if I want to achieve my dreams, in order to start designing a more brilliant life, I need to make promises, with consequences if I don’t keep them, so that I can take specific steps toward my dreams. And, every time I don’t keep a promise, I have a consequence, that I really don’t want, but I have to pay.
Now, I could lie about all aspects of this; lie about whether or not I am keeping my promises. Of course, it wouldn’t really be lying, my bullshitter/glossy liar would say: it is all justified. It was raining, so I couldn’t walk for my exercise. I only had two bucks, and wanted that thirty dollar sweater, so I had to use a credit card. It was a happy occasion, so I had to break the promise of not drinking anymore.
See where I am going with this? Any excuse to not keeping a promise is simply that: AN EXCUSE. Excuses take us further and further away from our dreams. And, every promise not kept is taking us away from the person that we most want to be.
I embrace keeping my promises now, as well as the importance of not just the words, but the meaning behind them. The purpose of them.
My life is going to be brilliant. I promise you, and myself, that.