Keeping Promises


A hidden cavern deep within me has been echoing with the hollowness of broken promises.  Not just an occasional relapse from a well-established practice, absolute abandonment is the cause for this stubborn ache.  I have deserted myself.

The hardest promises to keep are the ones we make to ourselves.  And when we keep making them and breaking them we gouge a rut of untrustworthiness into our spirits.  What perfect ammunition for our inner critic to use against us at every turn.  “Why even bother with that big idea?  You know you’ll develop these elaborate plans and get nowhere – because you lie.  You don’t have what it takes to do what you say you’re gonna do.  Crawl back into your hidey hole, you lying coward.”

OK, so maybe your inner critic isn’t as nasty as mine.  Lucky you.

Yes, there have been very good reasons that I haven’t been keeping my secret promise to myself – work and health and family needs are just some of them.  And I have had many other outlets for my creativity that I have enjoyed.  Most people would consider me highly reliable and trustworthy.  Timing is everything, too.  I know you don’t plant tomatoes in Colorado in the winter.  Compassionate understanding for the challenges of heroic proportions that we all face runs deep in me, and I do usually extend this compassion to myself.  Along with all this justification, understanding and compassion, hollow regret still echoes in me.

That’s how I know it isn’t an illusion or my critic’s distortion or yet another “should”.  It is a persistent desire I have, this secret promise to myself that I must fulfill. It is one of those promises that I am compelled keep for the pure joy of it for me. It is a promise I will long regret breaking if I do.

As a life coach I know we all make promises to ourselves.  Some we keep secret for fear of ridicule or objection.  Some we blab to all who would listen.  Whether it’s learning a new language, building a straw bale house, writing a book, running a marathon or reaching out to an old friend, at some point in time we have to follow the restless and undeniable yearnings from deep within.  There are some promises we simply must keep – including those wild and formidable ones we make to ourselves.  The cost for not doing so is simply too great.


4 comments on “Keeping Promises

  1. Hey there my friend. I think my critic has met your critic. They sure do say similar things!!! I make promises to my self all the time that I don’t keep…and then my critic gets in there and beats the crap out of me. Good times. Good times~~~
    Thanks for posting this~
    Love your writing style 🙂
    Hugs to you my friend!

  2. Ah, my critic is your critic’s twin separated a birth! Only just discovered this post and love how much compassion it called up in me. I think so highly of you – wise, strong and accomplished. If you’re not hitting all your high notes, then I don’t feel so badly about missing some of mine. And, at the same time, you’re not making it okay. I like that, because despite all the good reasons I’ve fallen short, I still want my dream! Now how do we do that?!

    • Wow, Cindy! I know you as the wise, strong, accomplished one. Thank you for seeing these qualities in me!

      You’ve asked the game changing question: How do we stay in love and compassion – for ourselves and others – and still strive for what we want? How do we both achieve and get past our critics? Some ideas I’ve found helpful include staying in a both/and perspective rather than an either/or one, keep brining in even more compassion and understanding that this question is at the heart of our humanity, keep stoking the fires of our inspiration because passion is always a better motivator than obligation. Bringing in humor is one of my favorites as well. We often take ourselves and our situations way more seriously than necessary. How about you? How do you get past your critic, love yourself, all while both falling short and succeeding at achieving your dreams?

  3. You’ve been in my thoughts recently and I realize we still have that spiritual connection…this writing of yours of over a year ago echoes my revelations now…Love Donna

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