”A promise to yourself is a direct reflection of the love you have for yourself”
I’m sure most of us have been guilty at times of making excuses to put off something we’ve promised ourselves faithfully that we’ll do?
If you’re anything like me those odd occasions will have turned slowly but surely into an extensive unfulfilled wish list, it came as a massive shock when I realized how many of these promises I had broken!
Why had I let that happen?
With time on my hands recently after a round of medical interventions. I started thinking about my life issues including that of unfinished business.
I kept coming back to the fact that I had lost the knack of keeping the promises I had made to and for myself, I couldn’t grasp why I had allowed this to happen?? Because after all………………………….
Promises made to ourselves are just as important as those we make to others FACT!
When I thought about the sheer number I had made myself historically, I was stunned how many of them I hadn’t fulfilled, let slide etc then it struck me, no matter how I couched it….these were all BROKEN PROMISES!
My inaction. My responsibility. My consequences. Broken promises to me. For me, By me.
I’d allowed my self-talk, to talk me out of not only my hopes and dreams but things which would actually have been my right to have or do. There they lay impotent, strewn across the years and I had allowed it to happen.
Promises ranging from carving out regular ”me time” to making extended trips abroad, and everything in between, the list is endless BUT…….it doesn’t matter what the promises were/are…..what matters is that I DIDN’T see them through to their conclusion.
I must have had good reason?
Initially I decided that ”I just hadn’t wanted them enough”….. Or in some instances at all!
It was a short-lived thought as I recalled how much some of these things had meant to me and how determined I’d been to have/do them, then……… I remembered long since forgotten feelings and emotions…..my passion if you will for certain things and it saddened me to recall how that same passion had diminished to the point of extinction over the years.
The fire in my belly….. which caused me to make these promises to myself, had quite simply…...GONE OUT!
Why had I let so many things fall by the wayside? It took a while but eventually clarity struck, the simple fact was that I had kept putting the needs and wishes of others before mine to the point that somewhere along the line it became second nature.
Second nature to always put others first?
Regardless of my own plans, feelings and commitments? The number of occasions I recalled for instance when on receiving a phone call from someone along the lines of
”Sue, are you doing anything on Saturday night?” My stock answer was always ‘No nothing important why?’ and even before they would ask I knew that my answer would be yes and any plans I had would be shelved to be rescheduled which invariably never happened.
The stark reality was that no matter the situation whether it was a favour for a friend, changing plans at the last-minute using lame reasoning and so on.
It became the norm.
The broken promises and the reasons for not fulfilling them is staggeringly endless but the bottom line is that every single reason was without exception in actual fact an excuse.
I’d convinced myself that it wasn’t a problem but it also meant I didn’t have to confront the real issue which was I’d come to believe that;
I along with my hopes, my plans, and my dreams came a poor second in comparison to everyone else. In short…I didn’t matter.
There it was!
My lifelong battle with Mental Ill Health not to mention my fairly ”spectacular” battle with the demon drink had without doubt robbed me of the two things we all need in life to help us function in a mentally healthy and positive manner…my senses of self-esteem & self-worth.
They’d long since been left by the wayside by a mind which had all too willingly relinquished them in the ”pecking order” of the things I’d deemed to be more important!
After almost all my adult life it hit me like a ton of bricks I actually really did believe deep down that others, their needs and wants were far more worthy of my time, my efforts and my love than…me.
Well no more!
I decided that enough was enough. I needed to reclaim my right to be able to keep my promises to myself without making excuses to anyone….including me!
I realised that the first thing I had to do was reprogram my self talk.
Convincing myself that making and keeping of promises to my self was an essential part self-care rather than being selfish was something which I’d battled historically with as I tried to present myself as self-less. I’d spent years putting myself last for fear of being deemed selfish by others if I ‘’let them down’’ or God forbid put myself first for once.
Now that really would have been selfish wouldn’t it? ………..Of course not!
I now know that for sure and following my recent musings I finally gave myself permission to acknowledge and accept the following as fact.
A promise is a promise regardless of who it’s made to, including ourselves!
By not keeping a promise to myself the only person I’m letting down is ourselves!
Saying yes to keeping a promise to myself at the expense of saying no to someone else doesn’t mean that they’ll think badly of me.
By putting myself first it doesn’t mean that I ever have to justify myself to anyone especially me.
So where does all this leave me?
Well my self-esteem and self-worth have soared in turn leading to an increase in confidence. I’m secure in that when I’ve said no to someone because I’m already doing something, they don’t love me any the less for it. However the icing on the cake is that I now have the courage of my convictions and that courage brings me ever closer to being my authentic self.
That’s to say I’m happier to be a first-rate version of myself than I ever was being a second-rate version of that which I thought others wanted me to be.
I consider myself to be a work in progress but in moving forward and making the choices that I am, I’m moving closer to being what I long ago promised myself I would be and that is…whole.
NOW THAT’S A PROMISE I FULLY INTEND TO KEEP!