Keeping your word is part of staying in integrity. We live in a world where people don’t keep their word, and they have many excuses why they didn’t do what they said they are going to do. As a result they never realize that they made a mistake, so they will keep repeating it. They often don’t even realize they are giving their word when making a commitment to do something or be somewhere.
Keeping your word is a two way commitment. The person you are giving your word to is also part of that commitment. It is an agreement which both (or more) people agree upon. So one person gives his word, and the other holds him to it and doesn’t act on anything else until the first person completes what he said he would do. That is both sides holding up their side of the agreement of keeping their word.
A lot of people are late to appointments and don’t seem to even notice that they are holding other people up when they do it. They come waltzing in late and expect everyone to be waiting for them, and they don’t care that others are waiting on them. Maybe they like to feel important by doing that — forcing people to wait on them.
Sometimes it is necessary to cancel a commitment, and to let the other person know is part of keeping your word. Pay attention to the excuses used when you do have to break a commitment. This is important as well. Most people just use any excuse they can make up to do it, and feel that is ok then to break their word. It is like they already have the excuse to not do it when they are making the commitment, and maybe they do.
Pay attention to what you are saying, and the commitments you are making. If you give your word and the word is a lie, it actually lives until you “kill it” by rescinding it or completing the action. One perfect way of keeping your word is by ending your word if it needs to be ended.
If you can see that you are giving your word in just about everything you say to yourself and to another, you will start being responsible for what you are speaking. The benefit of discovering that you are giving your word when you speak is that you will start to listen to what you are saying. You won’t have time for all the “he said, she said” drama because you cannot deal with lies and drama and still keep your word.
If you know that striking a match will cause a bomb to go off, you most likely would not strike that match. That is what getting involved with lies and drama is all about. I am a proponent of speaking the truth, yet if I know that it will strike a match, I would be causing drama on purpose. Knowing something would happen that causes drama and doing it anyway is being irresponsible.
We are all “walking on egg shells,” not wanting to say things because we know our words will produce a violent reaction and might cause pain, so we don’t speak the truth. Sometimes that is how our relationships go. We have all gotten ourselves encased in prisons (psychologically), not feeling like we can speak the truth while knowing that speaking the truth is what is needed. We do it to ourselves, and we do it collectively. This thing cannot be an individual action. It is a relationship action.
When there is an existing dynamic set up where each fears saying something because we fear the reaction we will get; then we don’t speak what is going on. We keep it all bottled up, and eventually it explodes, usually at inappropriate times. The only way I am able to get an explosion of sorts is to create a workshop or conversation that is done when the anger and feelings are not present. This is when I am able to speak truth and have it be heard without an outburst. I say speak the truth with yourself and then, and where you can, speak it with others as well.
We are with the person we are with because that is who we called forth to be with. There is a dynamic that was set in the beginning and that same dynamic is carried out throughout the whole relationship. It is difficult to break through that dynamic as it is almost the structure of the relationship, and breaking it might break the whole thing. Sometimes we don’t speak up and we allow these things to continue because we fear that is the reason we came together, and without that we will not have anything. And the irony is that we don’t want to continue with all the pain and suffering, and yet we want to continue with what we have always had (which was pain and suffering).
When a child doesn’t get the consequences of their actions, then we are encouraging that action. The same is true with adults. When we are with someone and they do something and we let it go without saying something, then we are encouraging that behavior. However, there is a fine line between saying something and nagging or complaining. If there are any feelings attached, then we are not speaking the truth, and it comes across as bitching or nagging or complaining. If we speak a fact to the other that they are doing something or not doing something, as well as taking responsibility for it yourself, then there is a greater chance that it will be heard. If it ends up in a fight, then you can look and see where you might have had some feelings attached, some animosity or anger or fear to what was being said by you.
Then, even when things are shifting in you or them, and you both care to have a partnership that includes being 100 percent responsible for yourself, sometimes it is easy to slip back into the old pattern; so it is important to be aware and watch for that happening. It has been a habit and pattern that you have had all your life, so it is easy to fall back into it without even noticing you are doing it again. The new experience is often even uncomfortable because it is unknown and you are working with no “safety net,” so, often, fear comes up which also pushes you to go back into the old patterns.
The key is to stay aware and awake in each moment and see what you are doing and saying and how that is causing reactions or actions with the people in your life. This will also assist you in noticing when you are or are not keeping your word. If you are aware of what you are doing and saying, then you will notice if you are making a commitment to someone (giving your word), and it will make you be more careful in what you say.
Often people don’t think they need to keep their word in regards to themselves. We make promises to ourselves to do this or that (lose weight, quit smoking, not spend so much, not gamble, etc.), and then have all kinds of excuses for why we don’t keep our word to ourselves. But for you, you are the most important person in your life, so you would be the most important person to keep your word to.