My Promise

A long time ago, in a mental state far, far away, I published a post detailing how I would never make a promise again. I reasoned that I was unable to hold promises despite my best intentions. I had made promises I intended to keep, but was incapable of the follow through. As a result, I’d hurt people I cared about deeply.

Not long after that, I discovered a band I’d never heard of. In This Moment has a song entitled The Promise, and after having heard it I realized there are promises I can make and keep. I contemplated writing a post about my revelation, but decided against it due to some of the negativity I received on my previous post. Most of it was admonishment for being so hard on myself.

Recently, I discovered a quote on Words for the Year which made me ponder promises again. This time, I have decided to write about it.

❝ Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence. ❞

Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

You see, when I wrote my previous post it wasn’t so much me being hard on myself as it was a simple truth. All of us, no matter our intentions, will hurt people we love. It will most likely be unintentional. We’ll likely be unaware we have done so until we’re called out on our actions. It will probably be something outside of our control. It could be something committed in a random moment of control lost amid raging emotions, or a moment in which we’ve temporarily succumbed to our inner demons.

I’ve hurt people. Rarely was it something I set out to do. In fact, I can only recall one single instance where I went out of my way to hurt somebody. I’m very ashamed of that act and I’ve only shared what I did with one person. Fortunately, my misdeed did little more than embarrass my victim.

Upon deeper reflection, I realized that I’ve hurt every single person I’ve ever loved. I concluded it’s just bound to happen. We’re all different. We all have moments where we act without forethought. We all react to things in the heat of the moment. We all succumb to our emotions at times and act irrationally. I’ve hurt my father. I’ve hurt my mother. I’ve hurt my brothers. I’ve hurt my children. I’ve hurt girlfriends and wives. I’ve hurt friends. Hell, I’ve hurt myself.

In turn, all those mentioned above have hurt me. Most of it was unintentional. Some of it wasn’t. Most of those people found forgiveness in my heart because my love for them outweighs by far the recklessness of one thoughtless act.

It’s inevitable that we will hurt each other. There will be misunderstandings and disagreements. There will be times tempers flare. One of us will have a bad day and take it out on the other.

There will definitely be broken promises.

Promises can be dangerous. It’s important to never promise anything absolute. Most things are outside of our control and therefore absolute promises will be broken no matter how well-intentioned they are, it’s just a matter of when. You can’t fulfill a promise to someone that you’ll always be there for them, unless you can see into the future (and if you can hit me up, I want some winning lottery numbers). It’s also important to understand, as the recipient of a promise, that any absolute promises not be taken at face value, but for the intention behind it. Life is fluid and as a result everything is in a constant state of change. Those changes are what will ultimately break an absolutely promise.

After running all this through countless filters in my head, I realized I can make the following promises:

  • I promise to be there for you, my friends, when possible and to the best of my ability. There is only so much I can give, however, and I ask that you recognize that.
  • I promise to always try to be the best version of me that I can be. I can’t always be at my best, but I will always give it my best effort.
  • I promise I’m always looking for ways to make myself better. For you. For me. For my children.
  • I promise to continue learning from my mistakes.
  • I promise I will hurt you, but it will be unintentional. I am not perfect, and I know I’ll fuck up. I ask only for your understanding when I do.

Those are all the promises I can make. I can guarantee nothing else. I realize I’m broken in some ways and I know (mostly) my limitations.

What are your feelings on promises?

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About Twindaddy (328 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

91 Comments on My Promise

  1. That quote from The Little Prince is awesome. You are so right, about all of this. Broken promises are a thing of life – an aching, shitty part sometimes, but a part of it. And we used that song at our wedding 😀 Love it!

    Like

  2. too good post…it was years before I realized that even if people love us, they are bound to hurt us and though unintentionally most of the time, we are bound to hurt them, in so many ways. Life won’t be perfect every time. Re-blogging this on my page and fb too 🙂 …take care..

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  3. These are awesome promises to be able to make. Good for you. I make no such ones. I’ll have to think about what I *can* promise…

    For now I think and hope that being able to call you BTFFFL is enough 🙂 I don’t *do* short-haul friendships. Not if I can help it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Saya..D Poet… and commented:
    This post is about promises…but the reason I am re-blogging is because I identify with some part of it…it was years before I realized that even if people love us, they are bound to hurt us and though unintentionally most of the time, we are bound to hurt them, in so many ways. Life won’t be perfect every time. But we still love each other nonetheless.

    Like

  5. None of us are perfect and we are all just human! Those are some beautiful promises and this is an awesome post!
    (Hugs) to you just for writing it.

    Like

  6. londongirlwithpearls // September 24, 2014 at 8:35 am // Reply

    Great post, and I agree 100% with the spirit of it: does not matter how much you love someone, sometimes life happens, and you may do things that end up hurting the other person without you even realizing that.
    However, and I am talking as someone who has been on the receiving end of “promises with a disclaimer”, sometimes it is just more powerful to go all in.
    Give the other person some credit: whenever someone makes an absolute promise to me, like “I will love you forever”, I have the intelligence to not take it at face value and add the disclaimer myself (“until the day you don’t anymore”)… but I don’t need to hear that disclaimer. The point of a promise is that, the moment you make it, you are vowing to do your best to keep it and you are vowing to try to keep it no matter what. If you insert a “way out”, it just loses it’s value

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi CT! My thoughts on promises shifted over the years. I know I can hold up my end of a promise very well, but like you said…no one is perfect. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I work in contracts. This means that I immediately seek out caveats and exceptions whenever I make–or hear–an absolute statement. I try to leave the caveats unspoken in some rare tender moments, because those nearest to me now seek them out and understand I perceive them in everything … but sometimes just need to hear the basic intent.

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  9. Promises are tricky… I’m not sure how many I’ve kept in my life. Probably not a one.
    I usually opt for the phrase, “I’ll try to… (fill in the blank”, which is always met (by one person in my life) with, “Do, or don’t do; there is no try.”, which is apparently a quote from Yoda (but we’ve already established I haven’t ever watched any of the Star Wars movies, so…

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  10. This hits a nerve for probably obvious reasons. It’s a great post…and I have to absorb it and think about it.

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  11. Kristi Campbell - findingninee // September 24, 2014 at 10:40 am // Reply

    Great post TD. We WILL hurt the people that we love and they will hurt us. I can promise that I’ll try to not hurt them. I can promise that I’ll love my son more than anybody in the solar systems for the rest of forever. But I know I will, and have, hurt him, too. Imma try to not though. I can promise that.
    I really love this post but it makes me kinda sad, too…

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  12. As always, you’ve given me something to think about. I don’t even know what my opinion on promises is. There’s only one that I can recall making and that’s the day I got married. Surely, I’ve made some along the way…but, it’s something I’m very careful to verbalize. For the simple reason you pointed out–none of us are perfect. Promises feel like perfection and I’m a little skiddish of that
    Perhaps I can promise to reevaluate?

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  13. TD! I absolutely LOVE this post!!! Sniff, sniff, sniff. Promising someone that you will most likely hurt them even if unintentional is brilliant. I am always telling my kids that I am not perfect and that I am sorry for the parenting mistakes I have made and the ones I will make throughout their lives. Accepting that we are not perfect beings is the key.

    I promise I am about to re-tweet this. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I really like this post….life is all about learning and moving forward. I always try to keep promises, but life isn’t perfect, nor am I.

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  15. You got it just right, TD.

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  16. Good promises to make. The reality of life is that we are all human and imperfect. That means that we will hurt people and they us and the majority of the time it is not meant

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  17. Promises suck. Even those we make to ourselves get broken

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  18. I haven’t given promises a lot of thought for years. But when I thought about it I realized I don’t make promises anymore. I believe so strongly in telling the truth I know I could never keep some promises others make. I also try not to use “always” & “never” because no one is always something or never something. Eg. someone can be wrong 99% of the time when they guess about something, but that does not equal “always.” The same goes for never.
    I also prefer to live more in the present, so when I tell my daughter or my hubby I love them, it means I love you now. I fully believe I will love them for as long as I live, but there are no guarantees in life, so I don’t say that.

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  19. I like your honest promises.

    When we take vows in the Order (which I’m probably going to be applying to do at some point in the not too distant future), the promises are all made with the condition of “with God’s help”. In other words, it’s recognised that we can’t just rely on our own strength to live this life.

    Honest promises, ones which don’t hype themselves up and are realistic, are the best ones to make.

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  20. A great post! 🙂 You are right when you say it isn’t easy to keep promises.We all have our limitations.
    When I hear the word promise,this quote i read sometime back comes to my mind.
    “Never reply when you are angry,
    Never make a promise when your happy.
    Never take a decision when you are sad.”

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