Promises That Are Not Kept

December 23, 2016

It surprises me how easily and naturally some people agree to promises, as if life were a game where you can promise anything without even knowing if you are in a position to face it in the future. For sure, nobody is obliging you to do anything. When it comes to questions that for some might be trivial, but that for others are important, I feel like promises are falling into disuse.

We have all heard our grandparents talk about those faraway times when honoring a promise was little less than being faced with a life or death compromise. It does not matter if what they promise you is trivial or something very important, the compromise of saying that you will do or give something should be enough for you to be responsible for it.

We have to keep in mind the disappointment that we cause someone when we break a promise, not to mention how sad or angry we may personally feel when we are let down. We have to honor a promise, because it is giving our word. Our word is our only personal belonging with value. Material things are circumstantial and one day we may find ourselves without them. On the other hand, our word and our actions end up defining us as people in the long term.

It is the only thing that nobody can take away from us, but we lose it little by little when we make promises that we know we will not be able to keep, when something is promised to get out of things, when someone is fooled, and when a promise is made to obtain something, etc. That trust that we hope others will give us is built on the experiences we share with those same people. If we can be trusted to stick sufficiently to our word, anyone who knows us will take our promise as a true guarantee. So we can feel proud of being people who keep our word, who do not make promises in vain…

When it comes to promises, it is better to make few but true ones than many false ones. If we cannot or do not want to keep a promise, the best thing is not to commit to it. Think about it next time you are tempted to make a promise… Are you willing to keep that promise no matter what happens?