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What Does A Promise Mean?

How do you feel about broken promises?

I hate them. They break my heart. They tear me up. And yet, I've broken lots of promises of my own.

It feels different when someone else breaks a promise. They've made a terrible mistake. And yet when it's me who has broken the promise I can easily find a rationalization or a reason or even put blinders on so that I don't see the broken promise.

Some days we all have blinders on. Some things we can't see because they're too close.

Then, what does a promise mean?

Is it really so transitory? Is it really just the hope of a promise and not really a promise? When we make a promise, how long are we obligated to keep it?

A promise is a promise. To break it requires a new agreement. If both people do not reach that new agreement, a broken promise is an infraction, a harm.

I'm learning oh so well to be very careful about promises. Careful about what I promise, and careful about what I accept from others as a promise. Maybe they mean it, and maybe they don't. From now on, I expect the truth about promises.

I'm not sure about your promise until I understand its premise.

What does it mean to you? When is it breakable? How enduring is it? Not from intentions, but from practice.

It will take practice - working to keep communication channels so clear that there is no doubt as to what we mean when we make a promise, but I am finding it absolutely necessary. I'm one broken promise away from believing there's no such thing as a promise.

And that would be a terrible belief to adapt.

Fortunately, there is something stronger than a promise - broken or otherwise. Luckily, there is something so strong that no one can ever take it away from you. Happily, we can navigate a landscape of shattered promises with that one stronger thing: forgiveness.

Letting go. Letting be. Forgiving.

Once the promise is gone, we can push ourselves down chasing its ghost, or we can forgive.

But that next promise...I'm going to make sure I know what it means.

How about you?

-- Doug Smith

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