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Have you ever heard the saying "Your word is everything"? While it may seem like another old cliche, there is a lot of truth to that saying! Today I am encouraging you to take a look at how often you commit to or say you are going to do something or be somewhere (and yes just "saying" you will be there is a commitment) and then end up canceling or not showing up. While you may have 1,000 good excuses of why you couldn't make it- I'm telling you right now that if this is a trend for you, people will begin to feel like they can't depend on you.
For a lot of people many of the excuses are work related- in fact this scenario is often played out in many movies where the child is eagerly waiting for their parent to spend time with them, take them somewhere or show up for a game or recital and the parent doesn't show up because they got caught up at work. In each of these movies you can see the great heartache in the child. While it is true that you have to put food on the table and a roof over your head, what will it all be worth if your kids and family harbor great sadness, anger or resentment towards you?
This message isn't just for parents though! It is for everyone because if you have a tendency to flake off on your commitments- no matter how small- it will begin to affect your relationships. If you are in a romantic relationship and you promise to make changes to better the relationship, but continually break that promise because you forget or it's too much work- I guarantee that you are going to feel the effects of this from your partner.
Today I heard someone say "under promise and over deliver". When I first hear this I thought to myself: "why would someone under promise"? It makes a lot of sense to me as I write this now. I realize that people may have a lot of really good intentions when they make some of the promises that they do but the important thing to realize is that it causes great pain and disappointment when you let someone down because you overestimated your ability to follow through.
Growing up I had a very strained relationship with my father because although he was well intended when he made a commitment to me, he wasn't always able to follow through with it. Given the fact that my parents split when I was young and my father moved far away I felt like all I had was his word. If he ever had to go back on his word- no matter how small or seemingly insignificant- I was crushed. I began to feel like I couldn't count on or depend on him in anyway because if I did I was setting my self up for a huge amount of pain. I know that my dad really did mean well but that didn't take away from the pain I felt as a child and young adult. It taught me a very great lesson about the words that I speak and the promises I make. It is my goal to teach others this very thing too.
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You know that in your work if you make a commitment you need to follow through with it, otherwise you will be out of a job or client. I encourage you to look at all of your commitments and promises in the same way- because your word matters! Your word matters with your friends, family and loved ones. In fact I think it matters most with your loved ones. So really take a look at the promises and
commitments you are making and how it truly affects those around you when you don't follow through. Get out of your head and be present with those around you because I truly feel that if you are really present and connected with those around you, you will easily pick up on the impact that your word- or lack there of- has on others.
I wish you much peace and joy and may you start to make your words really matter!
Elizabeth Cappelletti, MA, LMFT