Keeping Bargains With Ourselves
You diminish yourself when you partially commit yourself.
The word itself is poignant.
The origins of the word commit mean “send with,” and when you make a commitment, you might consider that you are sending yourself with whatever it is you’ve committed yourself to. Imagine what happens if you then partially commit yourself to a dozen other little grabs on your time and attention. No wonder you feel as if you’re coming apart at the seams! You’ve spread yourself amongst a thousand tiny lines, each tugging you in a different direction.
And every failed bargain with yourself erodes your foundation.
Each commitment made and not kept scrubs away your sense of efficacy and trust in yourself.
You must treat yourself as if some part of you were listening to what you say to yourself. Some part of you keeps the score of how many times you’ve let yourself down. It won’t take too many failed resolutions before that part of yourself responsible for change gives up hope altogether.
To be sure there is also a part of you who is compassionate and forgiving, and yet if you damn the part of you that cares about keeping your word and following through, yet set a troubling precedent for your relationships in the world around you.
Perhaps it’s a result of FOMO or maybe it’s sloppy boundaries…whatever the reason we staple ourselves to countless small commitments, each of which is insignificant on its own but devastating when taken in sum.
Consider that every deal you make with yourself offers one of two outcomes:
- You build trust in yourself by following through
- You lose trust in yourself by not following through
Even this thing you’re reading now may very well be a commitment you’ve made and not followed through on! If so, stop it. I refuse to take part in a person’s diminishment of themselves. It’s a stupid, tragic situation that begs to be addressed. Blow down the house of cards. Cease propping yourself up with hollow words. Give up on every sloppy commitment and begin anew.
The best financial advice I’ve ever heard is as follows…
Every quarter have your card numbers (debit and credit) reissued by your bank.
Within a month you’ll receive a series of emails letting you know of various charges failing to go through on the subscriptions you’ve committed to. You’re then given an opportunity to opt back in. In fact you must make a deliberate choice if you wish to continue engaging in that product or service. Doing nothing — the default — is opting out.
If you do this, you must also reallocate the regained money and time in service of the things that actually matter to you. If you get back $300 and save yourself 2 hours each month, then you have an extra $3,600 and 24 hours in a year to put toward something meaningful.
It’s easy to feel a lack of money, time, and energy when they’re poorly utilized.
I recognize that this may seem harsh.
However, most of us have decades’ worth of experience letting ourselves down through silly partial commitments. We’ve habituated ourselves to our tendency not to follow through, not to keep our own word. This is a devastating “normal.”
A “yes” that doesn’t discern is paper-thin.
A “no” with teeth is life-saving.
Be judicious in your commitments, and maintain your boundaries as if they mattered.
They matter more than you know.
Originally published on The Ecosomatics Institute Blog