Keep Your Promises.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day and on a day like today, the symbols of rainbows, pots of gold, shamrocks, and leprechauns sprinkle the air as the sensation of luck feels all the more closer to us. We have grown up with the excitement of finding a pot of gold under this lucky rainbow. Today, retail deals continue to play on this special symbol of luck and promise, “Get 20% off with your purchase,” “It’s your lucky day with this deal!” But, for most of us, even after this distinguished day, our search for our own pot of gold under the rainbow does not cease. After this day where we celebrate luck and good fortune, we still continue to vehemently pursue our own luck and our own promise. But, where will our quest for promise lead us? Where do our desires drive us in our pursuit of luck and good fortune? What promise will we find at the end of our pot of gold?
We have been told growing up, “Always keep your promises.” The value of this ideal has been instilled in us since childhood because the action of keeping a promise shows a dedication to commitment. When we follow through with our promises, we are seen as trustworthy; we prove that we can be relied upon, that our word has value. But, in the same way that we have learned the value of keeping our promises, in gaining someone’s trust, we have also learned of its value through our own mistakes. We may never see the value of trustworthiness until we have understood the devastation of disappointing someone. Have you ever broken your promise to someone? Have you ever gone back on your word? Even further, have you ever been caught in the action of breaking your promise or going back on your word? Alternatively, have you ever promised something that is beyond your control? “I promise you, it is all going to work out,” “That will never happen to you,” “You won’t lose your job,” “He’ll realize that he’s really missing out and that he made a huge mistake.” The truth is, we mutter unspoken promises all the time. But, when we mutter these promises, how dedicated are we to seeing them through? Once we realize the power in our words and the value in keeping to our word, committing to our promises, we may begin to question how flippantly we hand out promises. In fact, we should begin to question how flippantly we hand out promises. We may not be able to fix someone’s work situation and secure the future of their career. We may not be able to get our best-friend’s ex to realize what they are is missing out on, or what a monumental mistake they have made. We may not be able to assure that everything actually will be okay. We definitely cannot predict nor control the future. But, the fact is, that is not our job. It is not our job to predict the future, to assure someone else’s happiness, to control other people’s circumstances, even if we think it is in their best interest. Our best, noblest, and purest intentions do not allow for the obsession we have in having control.
So, what happens when we let go of control? What happens when we begin to deeply examine the weight of our promises? How will the intentional choice of and commitment to our promises affect our relationships? First, we may begin to notice that our promises, themselves, do not seem as important as the context and circumstances surrounding what we are promising to someone. It may be easier, or seem appropriate in the moment, to treat our promises like a dose of medication that rights all the wrongs in the world. Our promises become, instead, an easy solution, a right answer. But, what if we begin to dig deeper into the dirt and muck that warrant a right answer, a solution, or a promise. What if, instead of committing to making a promise, we commit to our relationships? What if we stay with a friend who has just lost their job? What if we cry with our friend who is brokenhearted from a broken relationship? What if we question with our friend if everything really will be okay? Instead of promising that everything will work out, what if we accept that we do not know if it will even work out? Once we let go of control, our eyes are opened to the people instead of the promises that lie before us. When we let go of control, we become free to support the people we are seeking to fulfill promises to. When our need for control is diminished, we begin to see more, to feel deeper, and to love better. Maybe then, we begin to choose our promises more wisely. Maybe then, we begin to become people that adhere to their words. Maybe then, we allow ourselves to feel what our friends are feeling and to be present with them instead of actively searching for a fulfilling promise, a dose of luck, at the bottom of a seemingly endless pot of gold.
So, try your luck today. Maybe instead of searching for gold in whatever pot of gold you have, you search for gold in the relationships that surround you. There will be times that we go back on our word, that we leave our promises unfulfilled. But, when we begin to see the promise in someone else instead of another thing, another ambition, another attainment, or another pursuit, we may see that those promises begin to fulfill themselves through our commitment to our relationships. So, today, instead of seeking a pot of gold, you may ask yourself who, instead, is holding your pot of gold.