August 2018 Promises! Promises!


By Dr. Valerie Allen

 Dilly-Dallying Along the Way  … We all know the “promise breakers.” They tell you anything then do what they want. You talk, you discuss, you negotiate, and you compromise. You think you have established a meeting of the minds, based on trust and understanding. A mutual decision has been made and agreed upon.    You’re invested in this person and your relationship.

This is exactly why we are not just disappointed, but devastated, when those we love let us down. It is not just disappointment, but also the violation of trust that leaves us feeling used. We are hurt when someone we trust treats us badly and we are angry we allowed it to happen. What we perceive as trust they perceive as weakness.  

We all have a tolerance level beyond which we will not go. We have needs and wants; we have our own agenda in life. Whether it is husband and wife, parent and child, neighbor and friend, or employer and employee, we form relationships to meet our mutual needs. At times, we support others and at times, they support us, but for the most part, we stand on our own, seeking love, acceptance, comfort, belonging, and security from others.   When our needs are no longer met, the essence of the relationship is over. We may not formally end it by quitting our job, leaving home, or getting divorced, but the essence of the relationship has been lost. We are now dragging a “dead horse” and it is making us weary.

Who’s Crying Now?   …   It’s a matter of personal integrity to keep your word, to be dependable and responsible. Do you frustrate friends or coworkers by being chronically late or disorganized? Do you make promises you don’t keep?   When you don’t keep your word, you lack integrity. The message you send is you are the only important one in the relationship. The other person doesn’t matter.  To earn the reputation as one who never does what he says, detracts from your character and quality of life. Others do not respect you nor hold you in high regard. The message you send is they are not important to you. Slowly, you will come to realize you are no longer important to them. This belief has become mutual.

The more you engage in making excuses—I forgot. Why didn’t you remind me? I wrote it in my planner—the more you chip away at your integrity. When your words are not followed by actions, trust and respect are lost. Relationships are damaged, not because we lack ability. Relationships are lost because we lack motivation, we are undependable and unwilling to do what we say we will do.

~ ~ ~  This is an edited excerpt from a book by Dr. Valerie Allen, Beyond the Inkblots: Confusion to Harmony.    Dr. Valerie Allen is a licensed school psychologist and board certified case manager. She has taught students from elementary school through graduate studies in the fields of education and mental health.  She is a popular author of children’s books, short stories, fiction, and non-fiction.