Your Word Is Your Power!
Exactly one year ago today, I smoked my last cigarette after being a smoker for 13 years. I must have attempted to quit over a 100 times at no avail. I’d often throw out a pack after a day of heavy smoking when I felt at my worst, vowing that enough was enough, but it wouldn’t be long before I would give in to my addiction and start up again. This cycle was torturous, mostly because I knew I was punishing my body and getting nothing in return, but even more so because my feeling of self-worth and confidence would erode further every time I made the decision to stop, only to go back within a few days or even a few weeks.
We are co-creators of this amazing life we get to live and one of the greatest sources of our power lies in our ability to keep our word. This ability to live by what we say and keep our promises is often referred to as integrity, not to be confused with the concept of moral uprightness that the word is typically used to describe as well. This is not about right or wrong; what we are talking about is owning ourselves and taking our power back. One of the ways in which we often lose our power and fall out of integrity is by breaking the promises we make to ourselves.
Many of us are so great at honoring our word when it comes to commitments we make to others, but when we make a promise to ourselves, the context changes and so do the rules by which we play the game. You know what I’m talking about. Whether it’s an attempt to quit smoking or drinking, to eat more healthy, to practice your craft consistently, to watch less tv, to give up sugar, to exercise more or to let go of that toxic relationship, we all know what it’s like to vow we’re going to do something and then to give in to temptation in a moment of weakness. Often times, we let ourselves off the hook easy because of the underlying belief that we’re not worth it, or we make excuses like “I’m stressed, I need a fix…I’ll just cheat this once ....It’s too late for me, I’ve already been doing things this way so might as well keep going…Nobody else will know but me.”
Here’s the thing: when we break our promises to ourselves, we give our power away, we lose confidence in ourselves and we are really only cheating ourselves of our true potential. One of my favorite questions from inspirational author Robin Sharma is, “How excellent are you when nobody’s watching?” This strikes at the heart of the matter because it’s not about being your best for anyone else or for the sake of looking good, it’s about being your best for YOU!
If you’re out of integrity, the solution is simple. Acknowledge what promise you have broken, be willing to take responsibility for it without making excuses, make a new promise or commitment and VOILA! You’ve restored your integrity. One thing to note is that you’re not always going to get it right the first time. Much like I did with my attempts to become smoke-free, there will be failures and missteps along the way to success and reaching your potential. The worst thing you can do in those instances is beat yourself up and dwell on the fact that you failed, which many of us do and then use as evidence that there’s no use in trying. Making yourself wrong in these instances will only waste your energy, keep you stuck for longer and completely undermines the value of a failed attempt in bringing you one step closer to success. Don’t go there! Just dust yourself off, rinse, repeat and try again. In other words, make the necessary adjustment that the failure taught you, acknowledge, take responsibility and re-commit.
So my friend, today is a new a new day and a perfect opportunity for you to restore your integrity and re-claim your power. Start with something small. Make yourself a reasonable promise and deliver on it. Notice how good it feels and how much confidence you gain from that simple but potent act of keeping your word. Gradually, as your confidence returns, you can build up to bigger things and before you know it, you will be UNSTOPPABLE!
What promise would you like to make to yourself today? If you feel moved, share with the rest of us by leaving a comment so we can enCOURAGE and inspire each other!
Written for The Daily Love ( th, 2012)