People have been making big and small promises for a long time. I promise to take out the trash. I promise to not raise my voice. I promise to finish cleaning up in the kitchen. I promise to call my friend who can repair your car. I promise to go food shopping in the next hour. I promise to cook the fish in the refrigerator that has been thawing for two days. I promise to write my out-of-state relatives. I promise to send that thank you note, the one I have been promising to write for the last month.
DATES BACK TO 1375-1400
According to one dictionary the use of this word dates back to 1375-1400. (I don’t know what it was called before these dates, but I am sure that people were making promises back then.) Can you remember when you were very young and someone older and taller made you promise that you would keep your word? I can’t remember the very first promise that I made, but I do remember promising that I would share some cookies with my brother. Years later the promise would not be about cookies, but stamps. We both had a stamp collection and my father purchased some that we had to share. I remember when my cousin Elaine was younger than four years of age and she promised that the chocolate was for a friend. Her father placed it in her little palm and it was less than a minute before it landed in her mouth!
It is a declaration of something that you will do. You are giving your word. You are affording an expectation. Yes, affording ground for expectation. Sounds like someone on the receiving end of the promise is waiting. Realistically, we can’t all be sitting around WAITING for people to keep their word. Imagine what that might look like! Would anyone get anything done?
My experience is that most people don’t follow through with their words of promise. I often say that if all the people who promise (you’ll be hearing from me) to use my business services or who promise to give my contact information to others, I wouldn’t have much time to write this!
I can’t fault these empty words, because I too have been guilty of giving my word and not following through. Sometimes I didn’t write down the promise in a place where I would find it. Sometimes, I forgot. Sometimes it got away from me because life and its ups and downs took over. Many people are well-meaning and they lead busy lives, forget/lose my contact information or something else comes between the words and the action.
KEEP YOUR WORD. YOU MAY FEEL BETTER!
What I do know for sure, is the more often that I keep my word, the better I feel about myself. Perhaps there is a direct correlation between self-esteem and keeping one’s promises. Perhaps if more people followed through, the world might look a little different. Nothing is lost in trying.