Thursday, January 19, 2012


Do you make promises to people? If you make promises to people often, I would venture to guess that you don’t keep them as often as people would like.

There seems to be a mindset with people these days of making promises either to each other or themselves with every intention of following through… yet falling short of actually keeping the promise… and never feeling any personal sense of failure or responsibility for having broken a promise. Are promises disposable nowadays? Given freely and frequently, some with no intent to follow through but given just to get something or to buy time.

New Year’s resolutions are promises we make to ourselves. Look how often and how easily those are broken.

Politicians make promises to get elected. Are they expected to keep their promises? Are they held accountable if they don’t? Rarely. There’s always an excuse for breaking their promises and it’s always someone else’s fault.

Employers make promises to get employees to buy-in and invest themselves in a job or project. Frequently they don’t or can’t come through with the promises they make. Many never had intentions of keeping those promises in the first place. For instance… promising that there’s room to grow in your job when you’re hired, then keeping you in the same low-paying position for years, offering no chance for advancement or growth. Again, making excuses for not giving even minimal merit or cost-of-living increases by blaming the economy. It’s as if they think their employees are stupid and can’t tell that the employers' business is improving but salaries aren’t.

Spouses and lovers make promises too. Most of the time, these promises are made out of love and the givers of the promise really want to keep it. Promises are made to stay monogamous to each other and to protect each other. Those promises too are, unfortunately, sometimes broken. In my case, that particular broken promise nearly cost me my life. Just because he promised… I trusted him with my life. That was a gamble I lost.

The dearest promises to me are those that friends make each other to always be there. I don’t make or take these promises lightly because having a real friend when you need one is crucially important. If I make a promise, as your friend, that I will be there for you, no matter what… you can take that to the bank. I’ll be there to pick you up when no one else will. I’ll give you whatever I have to help make your situation better. You can call me from jail… some remote highway… or wherever you are… I’ll always be there to help you out if I can. I don’t make the friend promise to very many people for this reason. I can only offer this kind of loyalty to a precious few. It’s a promise I try never to break.

I gave up or lost some things I worked hard for when I exchanged the friend promise with someone. At the time, this friend was badly in need. I spent a number of years working hard to keep my promise to help my friend recover from some very dark days. After some extended period of time, my friend finally arose from the ashes and moved forward into what is now a fantastically productive and rewarding life. I have never been prouder of anyone for all they went through to come back better than ever. The things I gave up to help are gone forever. I will never get them back. I only wish I still had my friend… because I need one now and it turns out the promises my friend made to me aren’t ones they ever meant to keep. I guess that’s the risk we take when we accept a promise. It’s like giving a loan I think, better not to expect repayment, then, if you actually do get it back, it’s a pleasant surprise and not a bitter disappointment when you don’t.

I recommend keeping the promises you make. If you can’t keep the promise… please don’t make it. Broken promises have far-reaching consequences and build bad Karma around you. Try to remember those empty promises you make, they will always come home to you in the end. A better person you will be by considering carefully before you say “I promise”.

Spread some love, it’s a beautiful day.


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