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Because I said I would

Years ago I saw a post on Facebook about a guy with a business card that said, “Because I Said I Would” at the bottom of it.

This guy started a nonprofit helping people keep promises because of a promise that he had made to his grandpa.

As I read his story and listened to his Ted Talk, I thought of all of the promises that I had made, but not kept. There were a lot of them. Too many to count.

People talk nowadays about how a handshake used to be as good as a contract and they lament that that’s not the way the world works anymore. I do too. But very few people realize why that is. They blame others for not keeping their word, but very few look at themselves and realize all of the promises they’ve broken themselves. Even the little one's matter.

Tell the Truth, or At Least Don’t Lie

I’ve been reading a book called Twelve Rules for Life that has completely changed my way of thinking, especially about myself. One of the chapters is called Tell the Truth, or At Least Don’t Lie. In the chapter, the author details how most people are constant liars, even the people who think they don’t lie at all. You see, they lie to themselves. This is the part that really got me.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve told myself this same list of lies:

  • I’ll start my diet tomorrow

  • I’ll get up in the morning and go work out before work

  • I won’t spend all of my money at TJ Maxx… again

  • I’ll pay off my credit cards

  • I’ll save some money this month

  • I’ll make my bed every morning

  • I won’t sleep til noon on the weekends

  • I’ll clean the house instead of watching 5 hours of YouTube tonight

And on and on and on…

Sound familiar? Maybe your vices are different than mine, but I bet you have a list of things that you tell yourself that never happen. If you’re one of the few people that don’t, congratulations, but this is not the place for you. Remember the rule - tell the truth, or at least don’t lie.

Promises kept

I’m really good at keeping promises to other people. My niece is someone that I make it a point not to promise her something that I can’t make happen. She really hit the lottery with her parents. Both of them have abandoned her in the worst way. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t do that to her no matter what. She deserves someone in her life to love her no matter what. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve managed to make it work.

In 2016 I fell in love with a boy band. I called my niece around Christmas time and told her that I had bought tickets to one of their shows. She was super excited and asked me if she could go with me. I told her we’d find a way to make it work. I even promised her that we’d buy the expensive tickets and meet the band before the show. I knew I didn’t have the money, but I made the promise anyway.

As soon as I got off the phone I started looking for a second job. When I had secured the job a few weeks later, I called her to tell her that we would definitely be going to the concert and to meet and greet. She was over the moon excited!

The next day I got laid off from my full-time job, along with 26 other people. The company was downsizing and there was nothing I could do. In the next month, I lost most of everything I owned as I had to move back in with my parents at 31. I was beyond devastated. Everything I had worked for for the past 10 years was gone.

I remember my niece coming into my room and telling me that it was OK if we couldn’t go to the concert anymore. She understood. I promised her again that we would make it happen. I still didn’t have the tickets in my hand. I had no money in my bank account and no prospects for a new job. But I made the promise and I was determined to keep it.

I started looking through the few things that I had brought with me and found a few to sell. I applied for jobs that I didn’t want but could do while I was looking for a better job, just to have some kind of income. After a couple of months, I had pieced together enough to buy the tickets.

It seems like such a little thing now, all these years later. But we still talk about that concert and what a great time we had. We still go to concerts and on many other adventures together. I hope that she knows that she can count on me no matter what.

INFJs and Promises

INFJs are fantastic at keeping promises to others. Because of our extroverted intuition, we think about everyone else first. We want to make them comfortable and make sure they feel seen and heard and understood. We intuitively know what they need and we find joy in meeting those needs.

But when it comes to keeping promises to ourselves, we struggle. We spend so much time and energy focusing on everyone else, that we have little time and attention left for ourselves. We get wrapped up in projects and others so much that we forget about our own basic needs. We go for hours without eating because we're focused on getting something done at work for a coworker who's also a friend. We forget to drink water all day long because we're running the kids around and cooking dinner for our family.

We're also bad at following through on our own hopes and dreams because we'd rather help someone else follow through on theirs. We give and give and then give some more.

Promises not kept

I moved hell and high water to keep that promise to my niece because I knew what it meant to her. But I can’t do the same for myself. There is a whole list of things that I go to bed every night thinking about. I know that my whole life would change if I could tackle even one of them. But I don’t.

Is it that I don’t want my life to change? Possibly. Maybe on some unconscious level, I don’t. Change is hard and scary. Change means facing the unknown, it means meeting your dreams and potentially realizing that you’ve been hoping and dreaming for something for your whole life that maybe you don’t really want now. Then what?

But how will you ever know if you don’t take the chance and see? That’s the thing. I can’t ever let something like that go unknown. I have to know.

It’s time to keep your promises to yourself.

It’s time to stop being lazy and scared and start treating yourself like you’re just as important as everyone else. It’s time to make a promise to yourself and to move hell and high water to keep it!

What have you been promising yourself that you haven’t followed through with? Tell me in the comments.


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