This is a Teen Actor’s Lab “life” post about an idea that’s really important to me. Keeping your word.
Most people seem to agree that keeping their word and following through on what they say they will do is an important value to practice. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t really practice what they preach when it comes to this subject.
We may make a commitment to a friend to come to their opening night performance to support them, but when the time comes we feel tired, or we forgot about an assignment due the next day or it turns out we’re just “too busy”. It can be really easy to trick ourselves, can’t it? Maybe we justify it as “taking care of ourselves” when in fact, we are actually chipping away at our own integrity. This hurts our relationships because people stop trusting us, but we also hurt ourselves. Why? Because we are lying. Whether it’s conscious or not, when we lie to ourselves, we strip away our power. Our power is deeply connected to our own inner truth.
I read an interesting article by Licensed Psychotherapist Peggy Hammes who was writing about living with integrity. She said, “…all sorts of symptoms appear that one might not, at first glance, necessarily attribute to a lack of personal integrity—i.e., suffering from terrible anxiety and depression. When you are not taking actions that you feel you need to need to be taking, or when you are taking actions that are in conflict with your values, there is often a tremendous drain on your sense of wholeness and well-being, and you don’t feel right.”
Pretty powerful stuff, right?
Of course this doesn’t mean there won’t be times when you can’t keep your word. There are always exceptions which is why it’s important to give the people we form relationships with bit of flexibility in the beginning. But at a certain point, don’t you feel let down by people who don’t ultimately come through on what they say they will do?
Okay, so how can you avoid all the yuckiness and really keep your word?
#1 Sometimes you have to say no.
It can be so easy to want to make people happy. Maybe we want them to like us or to not be mad at us so we say yes when in fact we know deep down it’s not right. Saying no is a powerful way to take care of yourself, and so much healthier for you and your relationships than wiggling out later.
#2 Just do it.
We all have those moments when laying around on the couch watching Netflix feels a lot more appealing than mustering up the energy to keep our commitment. But try an remember all this stuff we just discussed and do what you said you would do. Your life will thank you.