One of the principles of so many spiritual paths and so many self-development paths is to be conscious relative to your word. It is a principle that crosses so many disciplines because it is so true and because it is so important. Being conscious relative to your word involves all kinds of commitments. Commitments such as being honest and speaking truth, having integrity regarding your words and actions, speaking in a way that aligns you with what you desire, using your words as a powerful tool for conscious and intentional creation, saying only what you mean, and being conscious that words can either be used as a negative weapon or as a tool for positivity, love and truth etc. But today, we are going to talk about just one of these commitments relative to your word and that is: Keeping your word.
To keep your word means to act in alignment with what you say. It also means to be consistent regarding what you say. People who keep their word stick to and follow through on their word. They remember what they say. They honor what they say. They send a consistent message that is predictable and that can be relied upon. They keep their promises. They do what they say they are going to do. They treat their word like a powerful commitment.
People who don’t keep their word are inconsistent regarding what they say. They don’t stick to or honor what they say. They conveniently forget what they said. They break their word. They break their promises. Their actions don’t match their words. They don’t follow through on their words with actions and they don’t do what they say they are going to do. They do not take words seriously. They don’t understand the power of their words, nor do they treat their word as a commitment. They can take it back or change their word at any time. And they will usually either completely deny that they ever said what they did say or they always have an excuse as to why they didn’t keep their word.
Some examples of not keeping your word are: Saying you will be somewhere at a certain time and arriving late. Saying you will do a task and not doing it. Reassuring someone that something bad will not happen and then it happens (false reassurance). Overcommitting yourself so you don’t make sure you have enough time to do what you’ve said you would do. Making a promise and breaking it. Saying one thing one minute and a completely different thing the next. Saying that you believe in something or value something when your actions demonstrate the opposite. Saying something and then forgetting or denying that you said it. Saying something that you don’t mean, especially if you expect a person to know you didn’t mean it. And wavering regarding what you say instead of being solid and consistent regarding what you say etc.
It is a bit ironic, seeing as how keeping your word is SUCH an important element of awareness and personal development and relationships, that so many people in the spiritual community struggle with keeping their word. But they do. Especially since people who turn to spirituality tend to have a lot of relational trauma. And also, because many people skew the spiritual principles regarding following your own emotional guidance system. Many people justify breaking their word by saying that what they committed to with their word just doesn’t feel good anymore, so they have to go back on or change what they said. And they don’t treat it like a serious thing when they do this. Instead, they act like it is controlling and un-awakened to expect them to follow through on something that no longer feels good and right.
Keeping your word and becoming a person who keeps their word is absolutely critical. It is critical for your relationships with other people. It is critical for your relationship with yourself. It is critical for your personal life wellbeing and success. It is also critical for your “karma”. Here is how: If you do not keep your word in your relationships with other people, you will eventually not have any close relationships. You will have demonstrated that you do not hold yourself to standards of conduct. You will have demonstrated that you care more about your own personal happiness and whims than you do about the pain of others. You will have demonstrated that you do not value your relationships and even that you do not value the people you are in a relationship with. You will have demonstrated yourself to be a person who lacks Integrity and honor. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Integrity (What is Integrity and How To Build Integrity). You will have demonstrated that you cannot be relied upon and that you cannot be trusted. This is very, very serious because trust is the holy grail of successful relationships. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Trust (What Is Trust and How to Build Trust in Relationships). You will be seen as an unsafe person. You will ruin the way that other people will see you, most especially you will lose their respect. And on the road to this ultimate loss, you will have created non-stop conflict in all of your relationships.
If you don’t keep your word, you are setting yourself up to have a bad relationship with yourself. This inconsistency teaches you to distrust yourself. You will learn that you can’t rely on yourself. You will eventually internalize the reflection you are getting from everyone else: that you are not a good person, that you constantly mess up and cause problems and are therefore a liability, that you are not valued or respected, that you have no honor and that you deserve to be rejected instead of wanted. And you will feel a nagging sense of guilt, no matter how much you may defend yourself and your actions. At a deep level, you know this behavior is not right and is not good. So, your own core self-concept will be that of shame.
If you don’t keep your word, you are sabotaging your own personal wellbeing and success. I’ll give you an example to illustrate this point: Alex always wanted to work at a specific design company. Because he had an impressive resume and attitude, he got hired onto the team. But he had a nasty habit of breaking his word whenever it suited him to do so. The first time he didn’t keep his word, he said he would have his design concepts turned in by the end of the week. Instead, he turned them in two weeks later. Because of this, their corporate client had to wait longer than what the company had promised. It made everyone else on the team cautious of Alex. The second time, he said that he would fly to Vegas to represent the team at a conference. But the day before he had to actually board a plane, he announced that if he went, he could not have a necessary report that he had agreed to do, done until a week after he got back. Again, this put the company in a bind. After that, every time his name came up as a potential collaborator on projects, every one of his colleagues opposed the idea and ruled him out. At that point, Alex had unknowingly been identified as a potential problem by his boss. He was under scrutiny. The third time, like all other company employees, he committed to attending an annual benefit. When the group shuttle arrived to take them to the benefit, Alex was nowhere to be found. Nor was he answering his phone. When he arrived to work the next morning, he admitted to being late. But he made the excuse that he thought it would be weird to show up late at the place by himself, so he just decided not to go… And he was fired on the spot. Alex had demonstrated with repeat offenses, that he could not be relied upon to keep his word and was thus a liability to the rest of the company instead of an asset. It’s easy to see how by not keeping his word, he sabotaged his own personal success. And Alex felt like absolute crap after this. Because he was fired, he was short on his mortgage. He had to move cities because there were no job opportunities where he lived. He developed a bad reputation, so he couldn’t use his boss at the most impressive job he had ever had as a reference. He liked his next job much less than the last. And because he had to move cities, his girlfriend, who was going to school at an ivy league college, broke up with him because she didn’t want a long-distance relationship. After all, he had promised her that he would stay in the city so they could be together. He broke that promise too.
If you don’t keep your word, you are in for a world of hurt karmically. When I say karmically, what I really mean is that you live in a world that operates according to the law of mirroring (what many call the law of attraction) and also the law of cause and effect. The way to conceptualize it is to imagine that what you think, the words you say and the actions you take are like a stone dropped into water. The ripples spread outward, affecting anything in their path. When you do not keep your word, you are creating pain. Those ripples of pain hit anyone effected by you not keeping your word. You not keeping your word will be a cause that has devastating effects, effects that like Alex found out, will result in you being in pain. And in a universe managed by the law of mirroring, you will get back and see manifested anything you give off. If you are in the vibrational state of not keeping your word, you will be a match to people, places, things and circumstances that vibrate at that same frequency. Things like other people breaking their word with you. Things like not being able to rely on anyone or anything and being let down. Things like loss of relationships. Things like unsafety. Things like drowning in conflict. Things like inconsistency. Things like a bad reputation. Things like words being used as a weapon against you. Things like flipping. Things like being pushed away and aloneness. Things like deception. Things like disapproval, rejection and disrespect. Etc. It is a dangerous karmic game to not keep your word. As you can see, breaking your word comes at a heavy, heavy cost. Not one that you would actually be willing to pay. Being aware of that cost should make you not only aware of what you’re saying, but also careful about what you say.
It is not that people who keep their word never ever break their word. The reality is that they rarely ever do. But if they do, they know that what they are doing is very serious and has serious implications for themselves and others. They actively talk and act in a way that demonstrates that they are aware of the seriousness of breaking their word. And they go to great lengths to take responsibility for and try to remedy the negative impact of breaking their word. And they do not expect other people to be ok with taking responsibility for and absorbing the negative impact of them not keeping their word. For example, Bob is someone who keeps his word. He got a call that his mother is in the hospital. He signed up to oversee a national volleyball competition. Bob makes the decision that he needs to go to the hospital to be with his mother because it is a situation important enough to warrant him breaking his word about overseeing the volleyball competition. But he is very aware that just because it is an important enough reason to break his word, that doesn’t make it ok for him to break his word. He is aware that breaking his word will cause big problems for people and it could cause people to change the way they see him. So, he immediately takes responsibility for finding the next best solution. He takes responsibility for the fallout. As he is driving to the hospital, he comes up with solutions before he calls anyone to tell them that he has to break his word. He decides upon a person who can take over his role. When he calls the other people who are depending on him to give them the bad news, he apologizes profusely. And he offers the solutions he came up with. He also tells them that he will leave his phone on day and night and will make himself available to answer any questions they can’t answer. Bob is aware of the seriousness of breaking his word and so, he does so very, very rarely. And the way that Bob conducts himself on the very rare occasion that he does break his word, suggests and reaffirms that you can rely on him to keep his word.
If you are someone who doesn’t keep your word, you were most likely raised in an environment where word was mistreated. Just like people can become normalized to abuse and then become abusive themselves, if you struggle to keep your word, it usually means other people, especially those you modeled your own behavior after, didn’t keep their word with you. You became normalized to people breaking their word. You may have forgotten or numbed yourself out to how much pain that gave you. When children get wounded by a behavior that they can’t get adults to change, they decide they have to adapt to it. The way children often adapt to adults that don’t keep their word is to let go of the idea that people will or even should keep their word. This way, they don’t feel the pain of needing something that they will never get. They won’t feel as let down and disappointed and afraid if they expect people to break their word. And with this, they often decide that words just don’t matter. And they adapt the behavior of breaking their word too. For this reason, it’s very important to re-connect with and remember the pain of other people breaking their word with you in the past. And commit to not following in the footsteps of those who hurt you so badly.
On top of this, breaking your word can be a protest behavior if you struggle with enmeshment. Some people who struggle to feel their autonomy in relationships experience commitment (including commitment to what they say and promise) as being trapped. For people like this, breaking their word causes them to feel free and autonomous and like they can live according to their own whims and feels a sense of their identity and empowered. To the contrary, keeping their word makes them feel tied down, controlled, like they are carrying the weight of other people’s wellbeing, like they are being forced to live a life where they can’t make changes and instead have to do things they don’t want to do on principle. As well as begrudging and resentful. They are actually looking for others to make them feel free and empowered and autonomous by making it ok for them to break their word. They are looking for people who will not hold them to their word. In fact, they call this “loving”. They don’t want to have to keep their word if doing so causes them any pain. And so, if they were to keep their word, instead of seeing it as something that they, themselves are making themselves do, they feel like they are being “forced” to keep their word against their will. For this reason, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: How To Heal Family Enmeshment Trauma.
By committing to being conscious relative to your word, and with that, keeping your word, you will be looking at a life where your relationships improve and also deepen. You will be respected. You will develop a positive reputation for being someone who is strong and honorable. Someone who can be trusted and relied upon. You will feel better about yourself and trust yourself as your self-respect, self-worth and integrity rises. Your guilt and shame will dissipate. You will be much more intentional about your words and what you say and what you commit to and what impact they have. This will make you much more careful and deliberate about your communication and this prevents misunderstanding and miscommunication. And so, you will become a much better communicator. It will also make you much more deliberate about what you commit to and say yes and no to. Keeping your word will bring you to personal success. And it will ensure that the law of cause and effect and the law of mirroring will be kind to you, instead of cruel. Just like there are costs for breaking your word, there are rewards for keeping your word. Rewards that are worth holding yourself accountable to your word for.
Words are powerful. They are a powerful element of manifestation. Words hold within them the power of creation. You can use it against yourself and against others and against the life you want or you can use it for yourself and for others and for the life you want. How you use the power of the word is entirely up to you. But words have a powerful effect. The question is, are you causing the effect that you want to have with them?