Are You a Serial Promise Maker?
Here are signs you might be a serial promise breaker:
- You break promises, time and again!
- And again. See above.
Reasons you might break promises:
1. You made these promises for the wrong reason in the first place. Examples of wrong reasons:
- You wanted something from the person you made the promise to
- You were afraid of losing something from the person you made the promise to
- You wished you were different from how you really are
- It felt good to be the hero and pretend you would follow through
- You will say anything to avoid conflict
2. You didn't think it through. Making a promise requires a full exploration of what it will mean to fulfill what you are now committing to. As a serial promise breaker, you miss this critical step. You stay focused on the current situation and fail to play out the scenario to the point where you can picture fulfilling the promise.
Consequences of being a serial promise breaker:
- You spend a lot of time coming up with justifiable reasons for breaking your promises
- You need to convince yourself your reasons are justified
- Somewhere in your gut you know you screwed up, evoking shame
- People catch on eventually and stop trusting you
- You need to convince yourself it’s you who doesn’t like them
- You are always a little uneasy since you don’t always remember what it is you have promised
How to break your serial promise breaking pattern:
Stop making promises! All promises!!!
You are like an addict and you need to discover what you are numbing out or avoiding by self-soothing with promises. The world won’t fall apart if you don’t make a single promise for the next year. Just explain that you are in promise breaker rehab and until you can make promises responsibly, your promise making privileges have been suspended.
The truth is that you are a good person. You have fears just like everyone else on the planet. Each of us has strategies we use to protect us against our greatest fears and one of your strategies is to trade on the future to ease the present.
The truth you may not know is that your fears are old fears, leftovers from a time when you were, truly, at risk, and needed to get out of danger by making a promise you had no actual way of keeping. What you may discover by letting go of this strategy is that you are no longer in danger, at least no danger you can’t navigate as a grown adult. And the release of stress when you no longer need to worry about what you have promised and can’t deliver can make you feel lighter than you imagined possible.