The “Empty Promises” Lesson

So many of us make promises that we can’t keep. So why do we make them from the first place? Why we disappoint those we care about? And above all why do we disappoint ourselves? This topic is inspired by a dear friend of mine. I dedicate this to my dear friend.

I have a motto that I live by: ‘it is better not to make a promise at all just in case I cannot live up to it.’

Maybe by not making promises, you can actually deliver what you set out to do. Maybe when we feel pressured that we ‘MUST’ do something, it is when we fall short. There must be some psychology behind it that I don’t even understand. I don’t know why those who make promises, even make them? Is it because they want to reassure the person in front of them that they can trust them? or is it that they want to push themselves to live up to the expectation?

So what kind of promises do we tend to make? Lets see, there is one promise that we all make at some point of our lives, if we manage to get there; and that is when we promise to love and cherish our partner for better and for worse, for sickness and in health, in good times and in bad times, all of that and more until death do us part!! What a promise that is!! Really .. it is amazing. How many of us have lived up to that promise fully? How hard do we really try to?

I am positive that there are people out there who managed to live up to this promise word by word and have not failed once. I am just as positive that there are people who say those words and do not understand what it is they are getting into, or more like, what they are promising. And then there are those who try, and they do fulfill some of those promises but fail at others. It is human nature. We are not perfect. We all make mistakes. And that is ok. But what is not ok; that you make a promise that you know you cannot keep. When you make a promise to someone, thinking you are being polite, or telling them what they want to hear to let them trust you, or giving hope to someone just to keep them next to you as long as possible …. All these reasons or kinds of promises without a pure intention to fulfill it or even if unsure that you can fulfill it – they are not real promises. These are empty promises. If you are not sure you can, do not make that promise. It is better to be honest than to deceive someone, that you will do something, when you don’t know yourself if you will or if you can. Understand the power you have in making that promise. You just gave hope to that person that you will do something they want and looking for and now by the promise it has become an expectation. So when you don’t, you shatter their hopes – that you have created so highly – because you made a promise. And a promise is a promise.

Here is a new motto for you: “If you can’t fulfill it, don’t promise it!”

It is easy to think about all the empty promises that people made to us and how they have let us down. I have a couple of those in my life. Then there are those promises that we made to others and didn’t keep them. Do we remember them? Do we understand the damage we caused? At some point in your life you would have made a promise to someone or even to your self; and you failed to make it happen. It could have been out of your hands, or it could be that you didn’t try hard enough, or it could be that you didn’t even know yourself whether you are capable of living up to your promise – or not.

Some people measure the importance of a subject matter and decide on their own: “oh, it is a silly thing, so it is ok if I promise but then not do it, it is not that much of a big deal anyway!” (buzzer sound) WRONG. Said who? Seriously? Let me remind you again – ‘A PROMISE IS A PROMISE’

Promise me you will love me forever – only promise it if you know you can and will do everything in your power to keep it.

Promise me you will keep my secret to yourself – only promise if you are able to – it is ok to say it is best you don’t tell me, cause I can’t guarantee myself.

Promise me you will help me – only promise when you can offer the help required – it is best to say I am sorry I don’t think I can, than say yes and disappoint.

Promise me you will be there whenever I need you – only promise when you know who you are and that you are capable of this kind of commitment, because it is a huge one.

Promise me you will never make me cry – now who can make that promise – if you make that promise, rest assured, there is a high chance you will not fulfill it, because it is not in any one’s control how the other person feels or how things affect them. You may not do it intentionally or maliciously, but it is invitable you can say or do something that will have you fail at that promise.. My advice – that is not a promise to be made.

So here I mentioned a couple of promises we encounter at some point of our lives. Some we have already experienced, some yet to be experienced, and some we may not get to experience. There are so much more types of promises that I am not mentioning. I just touch on the ones that seem very important to me, some I have already encountered.

I did fail at some of my promises, which aren’t a lot to begin with. But when I failed, it was not intentional and it was not because I didn’t try hard enough and most definitely not because I was not aware of what I was promising. Simply put, I failed because I didn’t know that you do not promise things you cannot control. I thought I was always in control. I thought I always had the power to make things happen as long as I keep on trying. But I learned that no matter what you do or say or try, if it is out of your hands – it is out of your hands. We must all accept that we are not miracle workers. Altough we would love to think so. At the end I have to take responsibility for every promise I make to those I care about. I have to take the same for those promises I make to myself, whether it be something I want to accomplish for my own gain or for others. I have yet to learn one thing though and I hope I do one day. I wonder: ‘is it more difficult to keep a promise you make to yourself or a promise you make to someone?’ I wonder.

“Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” ~ John Green

“I know it is a bad thing to break a promise, but I think now that it is a worse thing to let a promise break you.” ~ Jennifer Donnelly

“The problem with promises is that once you’ve made one, it’s bound to be broken. It’s like an unspoken cosmic rule.” ~ Bree Despain

“In the first place, you shouldn’t believe in promises. The world is full of them: the promises of riches, of eternal salvation, of infinite love. Some people think they can promise anything, others accept whatever seems to guarantee better days ahead, as, I suspect is your case. Those who make promises they don’t keep end up powerless and frustrated, and exactly the fate awaits those who believe promises.” ~ Paulo Coelho

“We’re always being made promises. You make them yourself and you listen to others giving theirs. Politicians are always going on about providing a better quality of life for people as they get older, and a health service in which nobody ever gets bedsores. Banks promise you high interest rates, some food promises to make you lose weight if you eat it, and body creams guarantee old age with fewer wrinkles. Life is quite simply a matter of cruising along in your own little boat through a constantly changing but never-ending stream of promises. And how many do we remember? We forget the ones we would like to remember, and we remember the ones we’d prefer to forget.” ~ Henning Mankell

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