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Long on Promises – Short on Self-Commitment

Have you noticed that most people fall short when it comes to delivering on some of their promises? People tend to keep promises more frequently among close family members; less often do they fulfill promises made to friends and co-workers; least often to neighbors and acquaintances.

Is a promise the same as a commitment? Commitments are typically considered to carry an increased level of reliability; yet all too often, both promises and commitments have the same level of degraded delivery.

Taking this a step further, a contract between two people is considered as binding in terms of delivery, whether it is a business contract or a personal contract, such as a marriage contract. Some people believe that a contract represents the ultimate level of commitment; yet we discover that even contractual agreements are not always reliable and often fail to deliver on the contracted promise or commitment.

If promises, commitments and contracts are known to fail, what does work? What can we count on? What drives us personally to deliver on intent? Interestingly enough, it is self-commitment — a commitment you make to yourself. It is like saying, “Regardless of our mutual promises and commitments, I am committing to myself to do this or that.” Here is why self-commitment works:

  • Most people can rationalize or excuse their failure to deliver on a promise or commitment to others, typically blaming it on some unfortunate turn of events or blaming the other person for not holding up some aspect of the agreement that was supposedly intended even if not included in the commitment discussion (i.e., it was really your fault that I failed). The more you practice this slight-of-hand, the better you become at not fulfilling your promises and commitments to others — and the less reputable you become.
  • In contrast, when you commit to yourself, you have no one else to blame for your personal failure. In fact, a commitment to yourself supersedes any commitment made to others and regardless of how weak the other person’s intensions are at fulfilling their side of the bargain. For example, you may commit to another to achieve A, B and C, yet commit to yourself only to achieving A if the challenge becomes too great; which do you think is more likely to be achieved? Similarly, an athlete may commit to his coach and even to his team to invest the maximum effort toward achieving the objective; yet the consistent winners are those who make that non-retractable commitment to themselves.
  • When you commit to yourself, the terms are typically simple with a clear-cut deliverable that would be difficult to work around. An example might be, “I will commit to completing my college degree no matter how long it takes”. Or perhaps, “I commit to remaining in this relationship no matter how difficult it is to bear; yet I also commit to end the relationship if it becomes physically abusive”; in this case, a clear commitment with a clearly defined limitation; both are simple and important to the soul in terms of life lessons learned.
  • Most important of all, when you commit to yourself — a commitment to and mutual agreement with your soul — you are also making a commitment to that aspect of yourself which is God (or your personal divinity). Such a commitment involves and redirects all of your personal energy toward that inescapable commitment to the combined you, your soul and God. In so doing, you are including God’s energy in the equation, and the three of you will work persistently toward fulfilling your unwavering commitment.

Before you make a promise…before you commit to another…examine your intent at the level of your heart and the level of your soul. Is this promise, this commitment, truly a part of your life plan? And what are the boundaries, limitations and duration of that commitment? Can you make the exact same commitment to yourself regardless of the degree of sincerity, reliability or commitment of the other person? Can you accept that any failure to achieve the commitment you made to yourself is your failure? Are you ready to share this discussion with your partner so that you both understand the true root, language, limitations and duration of the commitment? Are you really ready to infuse your relationship with this level of sincerity? If you cannot do this, if both of you cannot make the same level of commitment to yourselves and to each other, then your contract is sown with the seeds of failure.

Self-commitment — nothing offers a greater certainty of delivering success. Take the time to learn this critical life skill. Commit to including self-commitment in every significant relationship and challenge in your life.

Perhaps this point is best driven home through the video “No Worries” by Nick Vujicic (video 6 on The Soul Channel VFR page) — enjoy.

“Thank you for participating in The Soul Channel!” — John