Broken Promises Kill Dreams

We break promises a lot. Not promises to others – we hold sacrosanct our agreements to pick up a friend at the airport, to show up with brownies at the Rotary bakesale, to turn on work on time.

No, I’m talking about promises we make to ourselves.

There are the little ones; promising to eat healthier, to take more time for ourselves.

And then there are the big promises, like taking action on our dreams.

But something came up, you whimper. I reevaluated the situation. I’m going to save some more money first. Or, you equivocate: My husband isn’t on board. I have to wait a few months for him to get used to the idea. (Here’s a hint: 1. You’re taking the easy way out, and 2. He’s hoping in a few months you’ve forgotten about it.

This sort of thing is poison. Absolute, soul-devouring poison.

You see, when you break a promise to yourself, your heart takes it personally. And who can blame it? That’s your future you’re fucking with. Your sense of accomplishment in the world. Your hopes and dreams miscarrying because of incompetence and mismanagement on your part.

You fucking well should take that personally.

Does that sound bad? I assure you, it’s even worse than that.

Every promise you break underscores to your subconscious that you’re not to be counted on, that your dreams are not to be entrusted to your ham-fisted mitts. The back half of your brain starts to think that, not only do you not deserve your blissful imaginings, but that if you did somehow stumble on them, you’d perversely sabotage them anyway.

Did your head just drop a little in shameful recognition? I’ll bet it did.


You cannot believe in honour until you have achieved it, better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world. ~George Bernard Shaw

Now, dear hearts, I know that you all have integrity. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t, because this sort of conversation would be too unbearable, would make you angry and you would cloak yourself in self-righteousness and stalk away. Of course we train ourselves to have integrity with other people, but when it comes to promises we make ourselves, we regard them as negotiable, as piddling matters of self-control (or self-denial), and they are nearly always subjugated to accountability to others.

Now that you’re aware of the oversight, I know you’ll stop it. And it will change your life. It did mine.


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