So one of the things I typically think about a lot is the whole notion of keeping promises. I use the phrase “keeping promises to yourself” a lot with my clients and prospective clients and women in my classes. It definitely hits home because in general, they aren’t. And they know it, and they feel badly about it.
There is shame involved, so it definitely feels bad. You want to keep your promises to yourself, it’s demoralizing when you don’t, when you know that you won’t.
Shame is not easy to swallow, although we have all sorts of tricks that we hope might make it just.go.away.
But I tend to listen closely (sometimes annoyingly so..it’s what I do) to how people use language.. how we take ourselves out of the moment of anxiety, or potential shame, with a quick promise, a mention of some action or intention that we throw into the mix to take the heat off. It’s usually the heat we feel inside.. we can feel something uncomfortable creeping up, and we need to say something to make it not-true. We don’t like parts of ourselves,and don’t like feeling them.. I know this isn’t big news.
Still, when you feel that creeping sense of already not feeling great about yourself, some old part of you, an old memory, trauma, painful belief about yourself… whatever it is.. just got lit up.. and your body is feeling it (although you may be so disconnected from your body that you have missed this part of the feedback loop altogether.. this is another topic, but a big one.. file under “More Heavy Posts”). As your body and brain start to take the hit that you are in that place of some kind of not-so-great feeling about yourself creeping in, taking over, the “Coat of Shame” as my brother Sam and I used to call it is wrapping its arms around you… you may feel like making some kinda promise.
Maybe to yourself- As in, yes this feels lousy to keep doing this thing I am doing right now but after the weekend/holidays/when my kids go back to school/mother leaves/work is less stressful/dog learns to pee outside.. whatever.. I will do something different from this thing that I seem to keep doing. This thing that is messing with my self-esteem, my plans to feel better about myself, make my mark in the world, improve this relationship… fill in the blank. Ever done that? Me too.. not judging.
For the record, that “promise” that you just so casually made...it probably was not thought about too carefully, didn’t have a lot of heartfelt intention behind it, and I’m betting you didn’t keep it.
And the truth is… this is going to cost you.
It’s helpful to know this because we cut ourselves off so quickly from our hearts when we make those choices. We say things we either don’t mean, or can’t deliver. And even if we never think about them again, there is a price. It’s demoralizing.
You lose faith in yourself. You kind of know deep down that you can’t trust yourself to make or keep a promise. It weakens you. It takes you out of integrity and out of congruence- when what you believe in, your values or morals or sense of integrity don’t line up with your actions…you will begin to suffer. Your way of seeing yourself will diminish. How you walk in the world changes. Truth.
If you’re somebody who is a people-pleaser, learned now to survive and get your needs met by trying to give other people what you perceived they wanted or needed, you may struggle with this. Tossing out a promise, saying you’re going to do something or give something sometimes comes in those moments when you want somebody’s approval or to feel less uneasy in anothers’ company.
Note- am sitting here in my beautiful chair, it’s not quite light out, having first mug of tea thinking why did I choose to go down this particular path.. this isn’t a fun post, everyone’s going to hate it. Hate me. Wondering does this sound preachy? Praying it doesn’t. Promising myself will finish it anyways. Sigh.
This does not just happen in our promises to other people. Yes we break our own hearts a little every time we break the promises to our self. Sometimes the same promises over and over (like ‘I will never eat chocolate again’… really? Are you sure? Is that something that really makes sense to say? It’s not sustainable, why go there?!!)
Our word, to ourselves and others, has become something that we’ve lost the connection to. It doesn’t mean much. And whatever other people think of this, and there may in fact be some real impact in relationships and how we are perceived regarding our integrity (which is definitely a great big deal, that you will have a LOT of feelings about if you allow yourself to feel them).
But you’ve also damaged your relationship with yourself. And you know it. You can feel it. Especially when you toss out another promise that you intuitively can feel, in your gut, isn’t going to come to fruition. You can feel that awful feeling, somewhere in your belly.. that sinking sense of having hurt yourself with being dishonest, or out of integrity.
If you think this has nothing to do with how you feel about your body, or the way you treat yourself with food, think again. It has everything to do with it. You have a big heart. You have an Intuitive Body, you are likely a sensitive and am empath that feels things deeply. This is a practice that hurts, every single time, and is cumulative. It is very common for women to hurt themselves with overeating, binges, body-talk that doesn’t feel good when they are out of alignment with their values. Practicing things that don’t reflect their core values.
Depressed yet? Not my intention. Nor to shame you. At all. One of the best things that ever happened to me was studying the nature of “congruence” and becoming more pristine around my word, what I said, what I promised, how the nature of my beliefs lined up.. or didn’t.. with my actions. Not easy… so worth it.
Pause for a moment. Think about something you’ve said, maybe recently- a promise you’ve made to yourself, or to somebody else. What did it feel like when you first made it? Sometimes it can create relief, or a little “high”even from imagining the outcome of taking the action that we are making the promise about. Now think about what it felt like to not follow through, to not be in congruence with your word, to let yourself or somebody else down. Feel it in your body? You probably want less of that moving forward, yes?
Start listening to what you’re saying. What you are offering as casual promises. The little ones are the same as the big ones…same kind of self-betrayal. Same kind of chipping away at your heart and spirit. Turning it around is one of the kindest most nourishing single practices you can take on. Something that will ripple into every part of how you feel about your self.. every relationships.. the way you walk in the world. Get your head back up.
I want that for you.
With great love and gratitude for you…
Want some support? From me?!! Perfect- I am doing both individual consultations and taking limited clients for my program. I’d love to hear what’s up for you, where are the challenges and how I can help. Just email me directly at Lisa at IntuitiveBody dot com. I am the only one who will see your email and I will write back within 2 days usually sooner. xox