We’ve all been there. That awkward moment when you find yourself doing exactly the thing you said you’d never do. Maybe it involved:
- Eating something you said you’d never eat
- Visiting a place you said you’d never go
- Trying something you said you’d never do
And you actually enjoyed it.
Or maybe it was sad realizing that you broke your promise to yourself – or that you’d promised something so odd in the first place.
Whether it’s big or small, we all make claims about our lives before we understand the long-term repercussions:
- “I’ll never go there again.”
- “I promise I’ll never do that.”
- “When I have kids, I’ll never let them behave like that.”
We make pseudo-commitments to ourselves that preclude us from experiencing real life. What we don’t realize is that the way we live now is not the way we will always live. Life changes day to day, and the circumstances we find ourselves in will not always be exactly the same.
I’ve eaten many of my own words. Some were good, some were bad, and some were downright bitter. The worst ones were those I said when I had no insight into a particular way of life. For example, before I had kids, I told myself I wouldn’t allow my children to watch TV.
That was a tough one to swallow.
Although optimistic, it was completely unrealistic for me to make that promise in a world where society is so infiltrated with media and technology. I don’t know why I thought it was possible!
Now, I’m not saying you should compromise your convictions. If you believe in something very strongly, please stand your ground. But before you exclude other options, think about the basis for your claim. What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks?
Some of the most damaging claims we can make are those regarding our relationships:
- “She’s not trustworthy. I can’t trust her with anything.”
- “I refuse to talk to him. He’s so selfish.”
- “I never want to see her again.”
- “I can’t forgive him.”
When you think or say things like that, it becomes solidified in your mind and you behave differently around those people. It will eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because you said it, you’ll believe it. Even though you’ve been hurt, you’ll back yourself into a corner and you might not be able to escape. And you’ll also limit the offending party from being able to repair a right relationship with you.
Life is too short to ever burn a bridge. The lives you touch are the most important thing you will ever know. Handle with care.
So make your words sweet. Sprinkle them with grace and truth. That way, when you end up eating them someday, you won’t mind the taste.
Photo credit: www.jeremiah-2911.com