How do you feel about broken promises?
I hate them. They break my heart. They tear me up. And yet, I've broken lots of promises of my own.
It feels different when someone else breaks a promise. They've made a terrible mistake. And yet when it's me who has broken the promise I can easily find a rationalization or a reason or even put blinders on so that I don't see the broken promise.
Some days we all have blinders on. Some things we can't see because they're too close.
Then, what does a promise mean?
Is it really so transitory? Is it really just the hope of a promise and not really a promise? When we make a promise, how long are we obligated to keep it?
A promise is a promise. To break it requires a new agreement. If both people do not reach that new agreement, a broken promise is an infraction, a harm.
I'm learning oh so well to be very careful about promises. Careful about what I promise, and careful about what I accept from others as a promise. Maybe they mean it, and maybe they don't. From now on, I expect the truth about promises.
I'm not sure about your promise until I understand its premise.
What does it mean to you? When is it breakable? How enduring is it? Not from intentions, but from practice.
It will take practice - working to keep communication channels so clear that there is no doubt as to what we mean when we make a promise, but I am finding it absolutely necessary. I'm one broken promise away from believing there's no such thing as a promise.
And that would be a terrible belief to adapt.
Fortunately, there is something stronger than a promise - broken or otherwise. Luckily, there is something so strong that no one can ever take it away from you. Happily, we can navigate a landscape of shattered promises with that one stronger thing: forgiveness.
Letting go. Letting be. Forgiving.
Once the promise is gone, we can push ourselves down chasing its ghost, or we can forgive.
But that next promise...I'm going to make sure I know what it means.
How about you?
-- Doug Smith