Imagine for a moment a child, innocent and sincere, looking up at you with big, brown eyes asking you to do something important. Something that means the world to that sweet child. Some wish that only you can fulfill.
“Yes,” you nod, crossing your heart, gazing back into those soulful eyes with all the good intentions in the world.
Would you keep that promise?
Would you jump over burning hot coals to make your very best attempt?
How about if that promise was made to your boss? Your spouse? Your dearest best friend in the entire world? Your beloved kids?
Now how about if the promise was to yourself?
Sadly, when it comes to keeping promises to ourselves, the conviction and integrity we reserve for others seems to dissipate like melting ice cream on a hot day.
It looked great for a moment or two, but the desire to keep those hearty promises quickly melts away under the onslaught of busy schedules and other people’s needs. We wouldn’t dare let anyone else down, but our own selves? Well, we quit looking our own selves in the mirror ages ago.
We aren’t nice about it either.
“What a jerk. Look at you, you miserable, lazy slob. You’d think for once in your life you could get something done instead of sitting on your fat, lazy ass all day, stuffing your stinking face. Pig.”
And that’s if we used the nice words. The ones we can actually print here. We all know we can be even more brutal than that.
Who else but yourself would you ever speak to that way? We’d never get away with speaking to a loved one that way. Certainly not a precious child. And not your Boss. Not if you still wanted to have one.
But that person in the mirror? Free license to use and abuse. And why? Because he/she let us down. Time and time again, proving her lack of trust and worth and the fact that for all intent and purposes, she’s no good to anyone anyhow and if the real world had ANY IDEA how many times she doesn’t come through, they would be just as appalled as we are.
Sadly, so very sadly, there are a lot of people who actually believe this of their internal person. They have lost so much personal integrity and trust in themselves that their inner spirit has become a daily battle in self-loathing. They hear words like “You must love yourself before you can love others,” and it’s all they can do to not groan or vomit right there out loud. And they have no earthly idea how to end the vicious hatred for their inner person.
They secretly hate themselves.
You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest. ~Robert Brault
What if it could all change?
I know it can. I KNOW it can. With all my put back together heart I know it can because I was one of them.
I used to hate my own guts and now I don’t. I can honestly say I don’t. In fact- I love myself. I know it isn’t common to hear someone speak like that but I do. I think I’m pretty darn awesome and I’m proud of myself. I kick butt all the time, I meet my goals and I celebrate my victories and shout them to the rooftops. I cheer, I smile, I whoop and holler and I pass on all that piled up love to my friends and family.
I want that feeling for everyone else too. I want everyone to live a life full of passion and inspiration and self-love and happiness and joy overflowing so that they can spread it out all over this world.
You can have it too. It all starts with ONE FIRST STEP. One drop in the bucket. If you want that kind of a life you have to be willing to take one first step. And then one other behind it. And then your journey will begin.
You have to make a Promise to Your Heart.
And the Promise goes like this.
I promise from now on, I will start treating you with the same honesty, kindness and integrity that I would to any other dear, beloved, wonderful person in my life. I will not lie to you, I will not be mean to you, and most importantly, I will not make promises to you that I won’t keep, and when I do make a promise to you–I promise to do everything in my power to keep it. And if for some reason out of my control, I fail, I will treat you with forgiveness and grace and do better next time.
Did you have a little voice inside your head saying, “I can’t do that, I wouldn’t be able to keep that promise for even five minutes before I screwed it up, I’m too big of a jerk.”
That’s okay. It just takes practice. One teeny step at a time. Once you make the promise, you will be aware of it, and even if you have to start over every five minutes at first, at least you will be being intentional about learning to be kind to yourself. Amazingly, I think you’ll find that each time you will last a little longer.
The One Other Thing Behind It
Start off with Tiny Little Promises. Teeny, Tiny Ones. Trust me on this, it is REALLY Important. You need instant, steady and buildable success.
If you are a chronic self-hater, there is a good chance you have been breaking promises to yourself for a really long time and the ones that you have kept, you have ignored and gave yourself no credit for. Those were kicked under the rug with a mumbled, “Yeah, any jerk could have done that, it’s no big deal.”
No more of that. From now on, whenever you make a promise and keep it, you are hereby ORDERED to celebrate in a healthy, fun, loud way. Even if you are by yourself.
ESPECIALLY if you are by yourself. Chronic Self- haters are often also people-pleasers. They are so busy taking care of other people’s happiness; they never take care of their own. They also have this fantasy that someday someone is going to ride up and magically make them happy. That day isn’t coming. So celebrate for yourself! Do something to make you happy all for you.
Work on your Teeny-tiny kept promises for at least thirty days. Notice how much prouder you feel already. When you are ready to move up, only move up one teeny-tiny step at a time. One of the recipes for failure is that we are impatient and think we can jump into everything all at once. Then we hit overwhelm and crash, starting the vicious self-loathing all over again. No more. Just back up, be nice and remember, we aren’t allowed to promise more than one teeny step at a time. We are building steps to success, not running up a mountain.
AND EVERY STEP GETS CELEBRATED.
That’s it. Make the Promise to your Heart. (And don’t ignore the part about being nice either.)
Only make Teeny-tiny Promises at a time, building up stepping stones to success and celebrate each and every step.
Ready to give it a try? There is a love story waiting for you if you do….and it will feel…wonderful.
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Thanks for this one, Wendi.
Now, to figure out the smallest step I can and achieve it…
This was one I needed to hear, Wendi.
My failures do not make me unlovable. If failing at something constantly is making me feel unlovable , maybe I need to find something that is not always pointing out what a failure I am.
I found this quote in another one of your posts :
“I may be in a habit of doing something that no longer works for me. I may be living unconsciously, or by a list of priorities that actually belong to someone else and not me.”
My new goals should be to find resources that will help me discover what it is I can or want to do –that meet MY priorities instead of the head-banging ever-changing list of “quality points” which no one could ever meet (Why didn’t you offer this, you worthless moron?) nor does the client want you to spend time doing for them at this time. (Could you just get the tow truck and rental out here ASAP?) .
Wendi Kelly says
Donna, Dear Donna,
I have known you so many years, and if I can get you to hear one thing, it is this,
None of us are failures. Not me, not you…not any of us. We are travelers, we are scholars in the school of life, and we are here to keep on learning, to share love and to give love.
To do that, we have to nourish that same love and light in ourselves.
Imagine two sources of beauty. One is a candle, the flame bright and shining. But sadly, without the fuel that is Source, one day the candle gives all of itself and burns down to its very core and is nothing more than a puddle of useless wax.
The other is a fountain, flowing high and shining, its water sparkles in the sunlight and sprinkles down back over the water. It gets its source of water from the lake and is a never-ending source of beauty, in a perpetual state of renewal, it doesn’t wear down or run dry.
Which should we be? The fountain? Or the candle? Two many times, especially as women, we think of ourselves as candles and burn ourselves down to a puddle of wax. Only when we are at the stub of wick do we finally beg for help.
The Promise to our Heart is a roadmap back to restoring ourselves.
Cindy Ratzlaff ? (@BrandYou) says
Boy did this post ever hit home for me Wendi. You inspired me to do two things today; 1. stop and rephrase when I found myself starting to put a big list of “should do” in front of the one thing I promised myself I’d do today and 2. thank myself at the end of the day for keeping my original promise.
Cindy Ratzlaff ? (@BrandYou)\’s last post… 5 Entrepreneurial Tips To Find Winning Strategic Alliances
Wendi Kelly says
Those are two very powerful goals. And I would also say, teeny-weeny steps. Keeping even one of those at the end of the day should be cause for celebration until it is a grand habit. Good for you.
Our Hearts really need a friend, don’t they?
Pamela Wills says
Wendi, I hear you on this post so very loud and clear! I was a Self hater for a long time, too. As a Confidence Coach, I agree with you 100%, those teensy tiny steps are really the keys to healing our broken hearts and learning how to be our own BFFs. I LOVE your promise to Self idea, really great! Thanks so much for sharing. <3
Pamela Wills\’s last post… Love Your Self
Lisa Hines says
Wendi, This is such a great message to women out there. Although I have reached a point in life where I, too, can honestly say I love myself and my life, there are still times that negative self-talk creeps up. It’s just part of our make-up. The trick is to continue to practice as you’ve outlined here. I also find that awareness of my mind chatter is extremely helpful in banishing those negative thoughts, in addition to understanding the sub-personalities that have been formed throughout our lives.
Such a beautiful and loving post.
Lisa Hines\’s last post… Living Spiritually Everyday
Mia Rose says
Beautiful and deep, Wendi. I love the idea of starting with Tiny Little Promises. Setting the intention right now to honor my promises to myself as much as I honor my promises to others.
Mia Rose\’s last post… A Fail-Proof Recipe for Happiness
Jennifer Bourn says
It’s so sad, but often we are our own worst critic, judge, naysayer, and troll. We say things and do things to ourselves that we would NEVER say or do to another person. It’s as if we have one set of rules for everyone else, and another for ourselves. But indeed, how things would change if we treated ourselves the way we wanted to be treated, the way we believe in treating others.
Jennifer Bourn\’s last post… 1680 FREE Heart Social Media Icons
Miriam Wiener says
Wendi, your post brings tears to my eyes. It is so true, and I envision the promise to my children and how I’d walk through coals to get it done.
There’s a great saying from Reb Nachman of Breslov: “Life is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is to NEVER be afraid.” I love this, because so many of our broken promises are based on fear: What will others think of me? Who will I leave behind? How will I maintain this “promise” for the long-haul?
Every day is a journey along this narrow bridge, but the most important thing is to NEVER be afraid!
Thank you for inspiring me 🙂
Miriam Wiener\’s last post… Bringing JOY into Weight-Loss (It’s My Secret Sauce…)
Kerry Swetmon says
Such powerful words, Wendi. I can see you have made a lot of people stop & think. I was once led through this mediation regarding the way we speak to ourselves in our thoughts. This 1 was specifically regarding my body. It was extremely moving and cleansing. And it changed me..It changed my thoughts. It is, of course, a work in progress and takes practice, but it’s soooo worth it.
Thanks for your post:)
Kerry Swetmon\’s last post… Above the Clouds
Angela Todd says
I love this. And your advice to make teeny tiny keepable promises is good to keep it from being scary. Followup is hard for me, like for many of us. So I have made many little promises. About the future. Sigh. So your emphasis on making promises that are keepable, and keepable STARTING NOW, for just 30 days, is awesome. It’s do-able and teeny and tiny, but your unspoken emphasis on “now” doesn’t let us wriggle out of it. Just try it for 30 days and if you don’t like it, you can have your money back! Good for you, please, keep pushing us! xx angela
Aly Pain says
I love your brutal honesty of what we actually say to ourselves. Sad and true. Somewhere we removed permission for us to advocate for ourselves in the way we need to treated, love and taken care of. Somewhere along the line we got a perverted version of heroism that means we martyr and enslave ourselves to the needs of others and the world. Tragic, and time to stop.
Denise Banks-Grasedyck says
Wendi, this is a touching and familiar post to me!
I remember that just a few years ago, I too was once like that, unsure of who I was and not really sure if I wanted to find out. I was already convinced that what I would find would not be enough. I devoted myself to two self-destructing habits: the first was always trying to please everyone and the second was being “perfect”- “good” was not even close to ever being good enough. When I fell short on those two goals, as one must, of course it meant that I had once again “proven” that I was right – and not enough.
I am so grateful that I finally decided that there might be another story I could tell myself. What if I set out to prove myself wrong? What if I treated myself like I treated other people- just for one week. Fortunately, I was and am one who takes up a challenge and sees it through. One week, led to another and so on.
It may seem odd, but one thing that really helped me, was that I decided to start going out to lunch or to dinner alone in nice restaurants. I made it a point to look at people, smile and love the one I was with. I decided that if I enjoyed the company of a good friend over a good meal, then I could enjoy my own company, after all, I am pretty darned awesome, too!
Love that you not only nail an issue that is so true, but you also give details on how to make a change! It is easy to identify when we are not being loving with ourselves and you made it possible for a turnaround to begin today! Nicely Done!
Jill Place says
God, I love this Wendi. A lot of my weight loss program is about being consistent with radical self-care. This is something I’m also constantly reminding myself to do. The buck stops with me! How can I inspire others to do things I won’t do for myself? Thanks for reminding us all!
Oh, any by the way, I’m absolutely enamored of the note you wrote to your heart. Wonderful work as always.