I Promise Me

Today, my Dove chocolate reminded me to keep my promises to myself.

Wow.  You know that feeling when you see an article, or hear a song on the radio, or open up a piece of chocolate and something says just exactly what you need to hear?

I had been telling myself all morning that I would leave work promptly at 3:00 (which is when I’m scheduled to leave, but it almost always ends up being later).  I’ve set up a particular schedule so that I can make time for my writing, and “Today,” I told myself, “I will stick to it.”  Even as part of my mind wondered if I really would, this time.

And then I got called out by the little treat that had called my name.  So I did it.  When 2:55 rolled around, I started saving files and shutting down.  And at 3:03, I was out the door.

Yet the fact that this was such a remarkable experience for me makes me reflect on something I’d rather not.  The fact that, most of the time, I don’t keep promises that I make to myself.

I’m actually very good at committing to things.  I am regularly there for friends and family and am very careful to follow through as much as possible on the things that I tell them I will do.  However, when it gets personal, that follow through is rare.

I subconsciously tell myself that promises I made to myself don’t matter.  Nobody’s really disappointed if you don’t stick to them, right?  You’re not really letting anyone down, so what’s the big deal?

However, lately I’ve realized that I am letting myself down.  I do end up feeling disappointed afterwards.  When I allow what’s happening in the moment to take control over the plans that I have set for myself, I usually end up feeling like I’ve lost something.  An opportunity to be true to the things that matter most to me.

When I become frustrated because the editing process is moving slowly, when I feel overwhelmed by my to-do list, when I feel run down and stressed out because I don’t have any down time: these are all things that are actually controlled by me.  They don’t just happen.  But when I blow myself off, I allow them to happen.

I think it’s careful not to go too far with this.  I don’t want to close off any room for spontaneity or going with the flow when things change.  Still, I know that I need to start treating the promises that I make to myself like real commitments.  To be as good as my word, even to myself.

Do you ever break commitments that you’ve made to yourself?  If you do, does it bother you?

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