Very few people realise, or wish to accept that one of the worst experiences in the life of an individual is a broken promise. We all have moments when we make a promise to someone and cannot keep it, for a variety of reasons. However, when there is a definite pattern in breaking promises, it suggests that the person making the promise is trying to please too many people, perhaps to impress, but failing miserably.
Promises mean a lot to people because they suggest appreciation, value and empathy and carry some pleasure in fulfilment. The effect of broken promises is resentment, undue anxiety, missed opportunities and lack of trust in future promises for one person and a chain of guilt and feelings of incapacity and inadequacy for the other. Broken promises also give a feeling of regret and are rarely associated with success. The most successful people tend to value others and keep their word because it demonstrates integrity – a key attribute for achievement. If not handled sensitively, broken promises can cause ill feeling, damage friendships and even lose business.
Keeping your promises is a way to live your life with integrity. You should especially keep your promises with children. Sometimes parents try to soothe a child’s temper and placate him by making false promises which they have no intention of keeping. Children are too gentle and vulnerable and a broken promise can cause devastation, hurt, grief and frustration in them.
If you find yourself prone to breaking promises, try to limit yourself to genuine promises which you can keep. Do not be forced or pressured and commit yourself only when you feel like it. It is our desire for approval which makes us promise to too many people and when we end up keeping none of them, it makes us feel miserable and we lose our credibility and friends. Be realistic and make promises according to your capabilities. If you value someone’s friendship, or truly respect them, or you value your customers don’t make promise you can’t keep. We can only command respect and be appreciated when we are consistently trustworthy and choose someone else’s interests over our own.