I think there can be a lot of power in just two words when written or spoken and then acted on. For instance, “Love Everyone”, “Forgive All” or “I Promise”. Those are some powerful words with a lot of meaning and importance. Those two words by their very nature must be acted on to mean anything. I think that is the same with all words spoken. What good are they if you don’t mean them or back up those words with actions? “I Promise”, in particular are two words that I take very seriously. I rarely ever use them. When I make a promise to someone or vise versa, it means something. I will only say, “I Promise” when I mean it without a shadow of a doubt, with whole-heartedly commit and will follow through without exception.
I remember every promise I made as an adult. I cannot say for sure I wasn’t much more casual about throwing out promises as a child. I may have at some point promised not to peek while Mom was wrapping Christmas presents and might have snuck a peek or promised I ate all my meat while sneaking it to the dog… I guess as with many areas, I have learned a thing or two about what is important in life over the years. Lots of hard lessons and even with my best intentions, I continue to find more ways to make more mistakes. I am a work in progress…
I am still learning lessons from my own mistakes (especially over the past 3 years and even weeks). I am learning from others as well. I am grateful for all of the tough times and experiences. I am even grateful for my mistakes. They have helped me to know with greater clarity what I want, what I will and will not allow and have raised my standards for myself and of others.
While I am still making mistakes, I learned the importance of a promise early in life. I learned that a promise really means something. It means something to me and it means something to the person you are giving that promise to.
I can count the number of promises I’ve made as an adult on one hand. That is right… I have made only 5 promises. I remember each one. I won’t share here what they are. Sadly, I can say that even with the importance I have placed on these supreme commitments, I have broken over half of them. This keeps me up at night. How can I have such strong convictions and still make and break them? Obviously, there have been conditions and events I did not foresee. However, I believe a promise should not have conditions or exceptions. I take ownership for not being wiser and is all part of my learning process.
So what have I learned in life so far? I have learned that it is most important for me to hold high standards for myself and others that I allow in my life, make no exceptions or excuses for anything less than my ideal, value myself and my feelings. If I must allow excuses or exceptions to my ideal, it isn’t for me. I have learned no matter what love and forgiveness are essential to happiness.
Lastly, I have learned to never make another promise unless it is a promise to do my best with the greatest of intentions. I can promise to love hard and forgive often while not lowering my standards or making exceptions for excuses that don’t honor or value me. I know without a shadow of a doubt I can keep that one.