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Your Word is Law – Make it So #1

Updated on September 11, 2012

The other day I gave my word to myself that the next time my conversation with my mother ends with a complaint from her, that I was not going to react to it, or let it bother me. I had been thinking about how useless it was to allow myself to feel irritable or hurt by this, since her views have no truth to my truth. In other words, if I picked up something up for her at the store as a gesture of kindness, it is, in fact, an act of kindness, regardless of whether my mother chooses to complain that what I gave is too much, too little, or she wishes I would have gotten something else. The point here is not how I am handling my issues with my mother, but how after giving MY reaction to her behavior much thought, I made a commitment that I would not allow these complaints to affect me anymore. I gave myself my word.

We actually do this all the time. We tell ourselves that we are going to do something or we are not going to do something. Or, we tell ourselves that we will make this change in our lives because we know this is something that is important to us, for our growth or to help us feel good.

We wonder later why things don’t work out the way that we want them too or how every year the things you want most for yourself just continue to decline. Well, how about next time you make promises to yourself, that you keep your own word for starters? It is nearly impossible to make or see lasting change in our lives if we do not even trust ourselves to do what is necessary to make these changes and we cannot keep our own word about how we are going to do them. Additionally, how can we really expect others to keep their word to us if we cannot even keep our word to our self?

You are your number one supporter, guide, teacher, friend and companion. If you don’t agree with this, then it won’t be true. And, if it isn’t true, let me ask – If you aren’t willing to make the changes in your life that need to be made to make you stronger, wiser, joyful, more spiritual, healthy and peaceful – who is? We must start any change we want to see occur in our lives, within ourselves. There will never be a fulfilling, lasting change that happens to us that comes from outside of our own actions and behaviors. We have to start with numero uno.

When we make a commitment to ourselves to do something, we must do that something or else there will be no grounding or certainty in anything that we do. We will have a tendency to compensate for not standing by our own word with other behaviors that do not serve us, like blaming, victimizing ourselves, and projecting anger or frustration out to others. Other negative effects from breaking our word to ourselves is feeling disappointed in ourselves, or feeling that we are weak, untrustworthy, selfish, or useless.

Keeping our word to ourselves is a key step in trusting yourself, feeling good about your decisions, developing a healthy self esteem and living without regrets and guilt. Ok, so keeping your own word seems pretty easy, right? Wrong – we are constantly breaking our own word and some of the reasons we do this are lack of awareness, attempt to inflate our own abilities in our head (i.e ego), distrust of the self and lack of self esteem. So shake hands with yourself right now and agree that this is something that you could do better at that will net big benefits in your life.

Here are a few tips to get back to trusting yourself by keeping your word and making change happen from your #1 fan, You!

  • · We have a tendency to over commit ourselves in many areas of our lives, usually because we have made faulty assumptions about the future. While beginning to build trust in yourself to keep your own word, be very careful about over committing to yourself or to others. There is nothing wrong with setting goals to do better, but when you make a commitment, do it from your current reality. If you are not sure, don’t commit. Agree to get more information before you make the commitment.
  • · Never give yourself your word that you are going to do something that you are not willing to spend the time you need to focus on achieving it. Telling yourself that you will stop second guessing your decisions means that you need to spend some time to understand why you have second guessed your decisions in the past and what steps you should take to resolve the root issue. Just saying you’re going to stop doing something is not enough, so don’t bother saying it if you are not willing to find out why you are doing in the first place.
  • · Never give yourself your word that you are going to do something that you don’t fiercely want to see happen. You might think, well I didn’t really care that much that I didn’t quit smoking because I kind of like to smoke anyway. So what you are saying here is: I don’t value my own word and I don’t trust that what I said I would do is something that could ever really happen. It doesn’t matter how big or small the commitment is to yourself, if you break your word, you break it, and you have broken down trust with yourself.
  • · Never give yourself your word that you are going to do something that you are quite certain you can’t achieve (at least for the moment). Again, smoking is good example of this. If you have tried to quit several times unsuccessfully, admit that you need to get some help and find new methods to help you break the habit. You will never change or break a bad habit if you keep breaking your word to yourself about making this change. Good intentions or not, you cannot change because you don’t believe in yourself (or your word) enough to make it happen.
  • · When setting goals for anything, remember that a goal is a fuzzy math like commitment. A goal is something we are striving for and we measure success by how close we get to meeting it. Goals will not always be met – that is a fact. But a goal is not your word; it is a commitment to try. Goals by their very nature should be set slightly outside the boundary of our current reach, since a goal is intended to expand whatever it is we are trying to achieve. Once a goal is reached, it isn’t a goal anymore, it’s a milestone. Then the next goal would be to go beyond that prior goal. Give your word and keep it and make sure it is within your current capacity to achieve it – Then, set a goal to do better.
  • · Be very careful about giving your word to others. Make sure it something that you WANT to do and that you are not giving your word to do something that you really don’t want to do. It’s OK to say no sometimes. If you do give your word – you MUST keep it, no matter how sorry you are later that you gave your word. If, for some extreme reason you could not uphold your word to someone, please make sure that you personally speak to that person about how important they are to you and you are so sorry that you could not keep your word. Not keeping your word to others sends a strong signal that you do not value them, so please be very careful when you commit your word to others.

Gaining trust in yourself by valuing your own word is a foundation for amazing growth in your overall well being. While you are experimenting with establishing your word about certain things you will be doing, be very compassionate with yourself, but DO NOT let yourself off the hook when you break your own word. Spend some time understanding WHY you gave your word to this in the first place. Think about what it would mean if you broke your word when you make it in the first place. Then think about ways you can make sure you keep your word. If you honestly just miss it, like I did towards my mother the first time I encountered her after I gave my word I wouldn’t get irritated over her complaints, then catch yourself doing it and think about how you can do better next time. I didn’t let myself off the hook, I became more aware of how I didn’t keep my word and I strengthened my resolve by adding a new technique. Next time I saw her, I kept my word and it felt great.

When you feel that you are a person of your word, because your actions match your commitments – your confidence, power, energy, self-love and trust will skyrocket. This is the type of change that will not only benefit you, but others will benefit from your own trust and confidence in yourself. If you give your word – make it so #1. It is law.

Nice to meet you!

Joleen (Bridges)Halloran is the author of Finding Home - Breaking Free from Limits. This book represents over 10 years of research and inspiration in the topics of personal and spiritual empowerment and provides readers with a pathway to overcome limits and discover authentic divine qualities in their lives and to live a life of unlimited freedom. .

Beyond Joleen's professional life, she is an avid reader and researcher of books related to her special passion, which is metaphysical and spirituality topics. You can find out more about Joleen's book at her books website,www.breakingfreefromlimits.com. Additional articles of a spiritual and inspirational nature can be found at the book's website as well.

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    • teacherjoe52 profile image

      teacherjoe52 4 years ago

      Hi Joleen.

      I live by the motto: let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.

      If someone tries to pressure me or manipulate me into giving my word I just firmly ask them to repeat what I just said. When they do they I continue Then respect that.

      It prevents a lot of trouble and hardship.

      God bless you.

    • kat_thurston profile image

      kat_thurston 4 years ago

      very powerful and insightful being trusted and trust worthy is very important to me. I do not give my word on something or saying I promise unless I know I am able to follow through with whatever it is. That's because I want people to believe me and when I say I am going to do something it will be done.