Don't break the promises you make to yourself.
I love working with my clients - they are all an inspiration to me in one way or the other.
However, it never ceases to trouble me on the occasions when I am discussing a client’s values and they share that their values include dependability, reliability, and commitment. They go on to explain that if they have made plans or arrangements with someone, for example, then they will rarely ever let them down and only if they have no other choice. A recent client said to me “you shouldn’t let people down, once you’ve said you will do something, then you should do it.”
I agree - who doesn’t find it annoying when a friend cancels them for something better?
But what I find most troubling as a Coach is that sometimes, if I dig a little deeper with the client and ask whether they keep commitments, plans and ‘promises’ they have made to themselves in the same determined way, all too often the answer is “no.”
WHY? When clients commit and promise themselves something good, why is it so easy to break that promise to themselves. I see this too often. Recent examples have included the following promises: to allow themselves some de-stressing ‘me time’, to adopt more productive time management practices that we focussed on for an hour that they know would help them feel much more in control of their time, to eating a much better diet and doing some exercise in order to improve how they feel about themselves, to update their CV, change their job search strategy and practise their interview techniques in the week ahead - and then they break these promises either to do things for other people, or just not doing things for themselves to improve their situation.
Why do we not value ourselves enough to keep our promises to ourselves? Why is it so easy to “let ourselves down?” Why aren’t we on the list of important people that need us, and deserve our dependability, reliability and commitment?
We are sometimes so mean within. We say critical things about ourselves in our head. We break positive and helpful promises we make to ourselves. We judge ourselves sometimes too harshly and set very high expectations of ourselves. But would we do any of those things to our friends and loved ones?
We need to be kinder to ourselves, become our own friend, value ourselves enough to keep those helpful and positive promises we have made, and cut ourselves some slack from time to time. Wouldn’t our heads then be a much nicer place to be?