Have you ever felt like giving up on a commitment you have made? I did last week. I have made a commitment to myself (and to others too) to keep up these weekly blogs and to get POM and the Worry to Wonder programme up and running. All of a sudden I was filled with doubt and thought "it's all too hard I think I will give up and crawl back under my rock".
Several things popped up to remind me that was not by best option. The first was a dear friend who rang to share some family news. She kindly reminded me of my commitment to share what had helped me. The second was that lousy feeling I had of letting myself and others down. I have had some lovely support, help and encouragement from others and to get things going and to keep going. I was forgetting about my commitment and intention to do my best to share and then let go of expectation and approval. Maybe a reread of Hiding under a Rock - Confessions of a Terrified Teacher and Taper might help me.
That lousy feeling of not following through on commitments is a familiar one. I have certainly said many times "lets catch up" without really intending to. I have also overcommitted and then not been able to do what I said I would or ran myself and others into the ground trying. Like the times I committed to make jam, sausage rolls, cakes, piñatas, and goodness knows what else for the school fete, with three young children and baby. At times I have made it difficult for others too by overloading them too or equally unhelpfully not sharing the load. When I have unrealistic expectations of myself I run myself ragged trying to do the impossible job of pleasing everyone. I end up exhausted, exasperated and resentful and often unconsciously put these unrealistically expectations on others. I am sorry to all those I whipped into a working bee or any other frenzy including baby Alice who ended up all sticky from jam making.
When I hear myself make a commitment I don't intend to keep or is impossible to keep I hear myself speaking rubbish. This causes me to feel like rubbish when I don't follow through. It is not useful to revisit these times in order to bash myself up but rather to think about how I could do things a little more wisely. I was doing my best with what I knew at the time. I know a little more now so I will do my best to do a 'better best' now.
Some things that have helped me keep my commitment to myself and others include
Do a stock take
When someone asks me to do something instead of instantly saying yes, which is certainly my tendency, I try to remember to say "I would love to, I just need to have a think about it and get back to you". This gives me the time to do a little stock take, to see if I have the resources (time, money, skills or materials) to be able to do do it. Having made the commitment to get back to them, I do and I give them my considered appropriate, realistic response.
Doing this stock take avoids
- overcommitment and not following through
- overcommitment and running myself ragged and resentful
- having unrealistic expectations of myself and others
Understanding and forgiveness when the unavoidable happens
We all have times when we have committed to do something and an unavoidable incident occurs. Despite our best efforts we are unable to keep our commitment. Like when our car breaks down, we're sick or our bike gets stolen mid delivery. Interestingly I have had two times this week when I had planned to meet friends and this hasn't happened. That can and does happen. Instead of blame, judgment and holding a grudge against ourselves or others it is more helpful to show honesty, respect, understanding and forgiveness of others and ourselves. It may also be useful to remember The difference between guilt and regret.
Avoid making false promises
I try to be aware of making comments like "lets catch up for a coffee" if I don't have an intention or plan to do so. If I do suggest it I do my best to make a time and follow through.
Having made the commitment to myself and others to keep doing these weekly blogs and to get POM and the Worry to Wonder programme up and running here I am back this week with renewed enthusiasm. You can look forward to a much improved and less confusing website to be launched on April 1st. This is not an April Fools joke, I have done my stock take and I do certainly plan to keep this commitment.
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