Are you committed to celebrating life? Are you committed to making the most of it? Then that means you need to be able to do the mundane tasks in your life as well. Sure, you can sit on your meditation pillow and ohm until you feel spiritually enlightened. Good for you! But what does that mean if you are unable to remember to take the trash out. If you forget to send your mother some flowers for her birthday. What happens when you’re not reliable?
We all have a picture in our heads of the kind of person we aspire to be. And what makes anybody a certain kind of person? It’s the things that we do. Our actions!
It’s the things that we do that defines what kind of person we are. And we will never become the person we aspire to be, until we manage to do the things we say we will do. And this is no small feat.
The way you do anything is the way you do everythingZen buddhist saying
In order to do the things you say you will do, you need to believe you’re worthy of meeting your promises. You cannot push yourself to do stuff. It simply does not work. Trust me, I tried. The only way to meet your promises, is to believe you are worthy of meeting them first. It’s the only foundation we can build on.
You see, the ability to do what you say you will do directly follows from a deep appreciation of your own self-worth. Your own self-love. And this pattern goes both ways. Self-love itself results from treating yourself with the dignity to meet your own promises.
The key is to realise the significance that even small breaches in your own integrity have. Do not think you will get away with it, ‘just this one time’. There is a saying in Zen Buddhism: “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.
In this it’s very important that you actually say what you mean. Don’t say “I will think about it”, when you mean “I am not interested”. Don’t say “It’s fine, I will do the dishes”, when you mean “Actually, I would much rather vacuum clean the floor”. Say what you mean. It’s not always easy to do, but it’s worth the effort. It’s not impolite to be direct. It’s a courtesy!
I hope you are seeing just how important it is to keep to your word. Not just so that other people can rely on you, but so that you yourself can rely on you! We are signaling a lot to ourselves if we are not keeping to our own word. And no matter how motivated we are, we will not be able to keep our promises unless we respect our own personal boundaries.
Sometimes it’s imminent that we say ‘no’. Maybe you sincerely want to keep your word on a thousand different promises. But you won’t be able to do so, because… well, a day only has 24 hours, right? And even if your available time is allowing you, is your energy? Is your emotional capacity? It’s much better to respect your boundaries and say ‘no’, now and then, than to over-promise.
You should not beat yourself up over not following up on your own promises. Building up the integrity to follow up on your own promises takes time. So allow yourself this time, and every time you slip, investigate why you are not following up on your promises. There is a treasure of knowledge here!
There is no shame in starting small. There is no shame in under-promising. Because what is the risk? Pleasantly surprising yourself by doing more than you set out to do? Count me in! When we make a reasonable schedule, we will be able to say to ourselves that we did what we said we were going to do.
Be the change you want to see in this world!