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Country Home Lifestyle | The Art of Keeping Promises

Hi Lovely,

How are you? I do hope that you are well. I'm currently sat here with my little cup of lemon tea (it's one of my favourite drinks aside from tea, coffee, and a nice cup of Ovaltine - chocolate of course) and I started thinking about all the promises we make not only at the start of a new year but in general. Each year. Every day. For our entire lives. Do we actually keep them or most them? Or do we become so overwhelmed in life that we tend to let things slip and slide even though it's the exact opposite of our intention to do so? (This lemon tea has a lot to answer for!). So I just wanted to explore this a little with you here. I'm not sure I'll come to any conclusions but it's something I want to discover a little more. 

I like to think that I'm good at keeping promises, I know I keep secrets when people ask me to (Still no fanfare accompanied by my handsome Mr R's picture - see I'm GOOD) but does that mean I'm good at keeping my promises all-round? I think I'm in honest here and that's the point to all this I'd have to say I'm not as good as I'd like to believe that I am, or that I'd like to be. 

I make promises probably just like you all the time, I think I must make at least 2-3 a day! that's like over 1000 promises in a year! So, at 30 years old, and let's say I started making promises at 3 years old - you know to eat my food, to go to sleep, to be a good girl, to stop trying to chew paper (yes I had a thing for paper - now I'm a book worm and stationery addict!) then that's roughly 27,000 promises and counting! Have I kept those 27,000 promises I made? 

I doubt it. 

As an overachiever and a recovering perfectionist (control freak!) - Mr R really helps me to let go much more often and easily than I ever did before #LifeIsBetterWithMrR (see why I have that hashtag now?) - I should feel really disappointed with myself for not keeping those promises - you know all 27,000 of them that I can't even remember 27 of them let alone 27,000! But I don't. I've learnt to accept that despite my mum calling me an Alien (because everything I did was perfect and I was the perfect child - Making up for it now ain't I mum?) I'm just a normal human being that isn't ever going to be 100% perfect at everything in life. We all are in the same boat here.

That has to be my hardest lesson to date. Always achieving highly at school meant I entered adulthood with so much self imposed perceived pressure to do everything with perfection. The promise to be perfect. The perfect student, the perfect accountant, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect teacher, the perfect work colleague, the perfect employee, the perfect blogger, the perfect crafter, the perfect crocheter and oh my word are you as exhausted as I am right now?! It's just not possible.

Accepting a degree of imperfection in our lives, I believe can help us to accept that we're not always going to be able to keep promises we make. Promises that could be as simple as writing up a blog post when we say we will (I'm sorry - I'm a creative and I tend to work best when I'm inspired - not pressured), sending the photos of your crochet projects + home reno inspiration you promised to send (I'm sorry Mr R - I don't forget and I always remember to send you the photos - eventually! :* ), or even to pick something up from the shops when you go only to go home and realise you've forgotten even though you told yourself a million time all day long "Do NOT forget to pick that thing up!" (Sorry Mum!!). 

We're so overwhelmed these days with information and our lives is it any wonder we forget these simple yet deeply meaningful acts of community and togetherness in the form of promises? Not really, and I've come up with 3 simple steps to The Art of Keeping Promises and I promise I will get to those in a minute. But first, we've discussed the promises we make and keep and don't keep for others, but what about ourselves? How many times do we let ourselves down? And what about the impact that has on our own sense of self esteem and self worth? 

I am the first person to prioritise keeping promises to others and to forget about the ones I made to myself. I'll put off a workout session in order to ensure I've done things for mum, I'll put off writing a blog post in order to chat to my friend, I'll put off reading in bed to calm me in order to fuss and cuddle Magick (my cat!) I'll even put off my NEW practice of bedtime yoga for the same reason. 

But why? Why do I think it's okay to treat myself with such a lack of disrespect and treat everyone else with the utmost respect? It's definitely something I need to look at more and work on - writing this has really made me "See" it. Isn't it strange that I feel shame for admitting my faults? It's that acknowledgement that I'm not perfect, and having to realise that again, it's an unrealistic expectation to have - to be perfect 100% of the time

There are many many reasons why Mr R is my hero and why he is SO good for me, I truly believe he is not only the Man I adore but the best friend I'm lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with, but one of them is that he really teaches me how to be better. By better I mean more self accepting, more realistic, more in control by being less in control. He doesn't miss a gym session (often) and that's because he's made a promise to himself since he was 16 years old and he's kept that promise for XX years! He has in my eyes self acceptance mastered - he'll likely disagree - but then again he disagrees when I tell him how utterly wonderful he is - and he is! 

So... the bit you've been waiting for (Thank you for following my waffling thoughts) - the 3 steps to The Art of Keeping Promises; 

1) Cliche - but don't make promises you can't keep! 

Seriously, don't set yourself and anyone else up for disappointment and failure by making a promise you know you either won't be able to keep or are unlikely to keep. This does you own self esteem no good, and it does nothing for the person you made this promise to - they will feel let down, not good enough in your opinion to have a promise kept, they will likely (if this is a long term letting down constantly) not ask you for any help and it could damage your relationship. 

2) Keep a note of your promises

Just a simple note in your Google calender, a corner of your diary, a scribble on the kitchen/home office noticeboard, a post it to the mirror (my favourite) of what it is you've promised to do, when, and for whom. As long as you don't overextend yourself and make a promise to everyone you know multiple times a day, and they are realistic and doable you should be able to handle this! 

3) Admit When You Can't Do It

This can be the one that trips us up on so many levels but it is probably the MOST important one to do. If there is something you can't do, admit it. It's not a weakness to admit that you can't do something, despite what some people in this world will have you believe. For instance, Mr R and I regularly have dates and things planned, can we both keep to the scheduled events? Most of the time yes, but when we can't for one reason or another we ALWAYS let each other know. If he can't make it because of training for work or a disaster at the house then he tells me, and yes of course i'm disappointed, so is he! But he told me, I was aware of having to change plans, and honestly, having the person in your life who is honest with you to the point that yes you may feel disappointed for a short time, but you get over it. And you do feel that bond of trust grown between you and the promisee - is that a word?! 

There you have it - my 3 steps to The Art of Keeping Promises. I hope you've found them helpful, given yourself a little reprieve from self punishment for failing so much to keep every single promise you make, and of course I'd love to know which one of the three steps you're going to try and be mindful of more often in the comments below. Honestly, I'd just be touched if you read this and survived the long post! 

Thank you for stopping by, I shall speak to you soon, 

Love Dawn xxx

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