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How Trustworthy Are You?

It is Not Cool to Break Your Promises


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Healing Lesson of the Day

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Honoring promises is high on my list of requirements in being a person of integrity. Basically, whenever someone fails to follow through on a promise (with the exception of giving a reasonable excuse for backing out on their word) it registers as a betrayal. Whenever I've had a promise made to me broken it has affected me adversely. If you've ever been stood up then you understand where I'm coming from. No one likes to be forgotten or dumped upon. Frankly, it hurts!

How Good Are You At Your Word?

My first memory of being the recipient of a broken promise was as a child. My older sister wanted to play school house and I wanted to play mommies with our dolls. We made a sister pact. She promised she would play "mommies" with me if I would play "school house" with her first. She set up our folded blackboard and role played as the teacher. I played along as her student while she tested me with basic arithmetic problems and a spelling test. Afterwards she refused to play mommies with me. WHAT??? I felt betrayed. I yelled at my sister that she was a LIAR. She merely shrugged her shoulders and said she had changed her mind. In my opinion she was both a LIAR and a BARGAIN BREAKER and I wasn't about to let her get away with it. The ruckus I was making got my mother involved in stopping our argument. This was good I thought as I was certain that mom would make my sister honor her word. But, I was wrong. Mom simply told us to stop fighting with each other and to try to get along better. Well... that just wasn't fair! I eventually stopped holding a grudge against my sister, but I did learn not to be so trusting.

Ever break a promise? Tell your story.

Is it Ever Okay to Break a Promise?

Granted, people do have a right to "change their minds" from time to time. It is understandable that occasionally circumstances can arise after the fact that can make following through on commitments unfeasible. But, if you routinely renege on your promises or if on the flip side you are often the recipient of broken promises it is time to evaluate this pattern.

Don't Paint Yourself into a Corner - Just Say No!

I had a frank discussion with a friend of mine who broke a couple of her promises to me a few years ago. She told me that it is difficult for her to say no to requests. Not being able to say no was how she would paint herself into corners. Since she couldn't say no she'd either be stuck doing things she'd rather not do, or she would have to devise creative excuses to get herself out of unhappy commitments.

Personally I would rather be told no in the first place. I would respect that honest response. It is worse to have someone back out on you at the last minute with some lame excuse.

If you identify with the individuals who "Can't Say NO" then please try to understand that you are not doing anyone any favor by forever bending backward to please others. All those "Yes Promises" are eventually going to cause you to back out of a commitment. And when this happens you will lose the trust of the very person you were trying to please.

Are You Too Demanding of Others?

Many of us have experienced the intimidating demands from the bully in the school yard or the from the overbearing boss at work. We agree to outrageous terms from these individuals to secure our bodily safety and financial security. We soon learn to skip recess to avoid the bully and shirk our duties whenever the boss' head is turned away.

If you are wondering whether or not you make too high of demands on the people in you life...

Ask Yourself:
  • Is your personality overtly forceful in dealing with others?
  • Do you take advantage of the people in your life who have difficulty saying no?
  • Do you feel your priorities should always come first?
  • Is it important for you to always have your way?
If you identify with the "Bullies and Overbearing Boss" it is time for you to realize that forced promises are likely to fall short. Who is at fault really?

Please Keep Your Promises

In my final remarks I wish to stress that keeping promises is very important. Don't make promises you can't keep. Broken promises hurt individuals and can erode relationships. Trustworthiness is too valuable of a characteristic to own... don't give it away.
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