The importance of keeping your promises

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ANN ANONYMOUS/Teen Columnist

When a tree is planted, it buries its roots into the soil, and as it grows, those roots become stronger and deeper; this is like growing a relationship with anyone. You need to have background with this person, and most of all trust. The most effective way of earning someone’s trust is to keep promises you made.

Keeping a promise you have made to someone is like ensuring them that you can be counted on. I sense that once a promise is broken, it plants a seed of doubt and insecurity in their mind. Talking from personal experience, I’ve been made many promises in my life, all of which taught me who I can keep confidence and faith in, and whom I have developed skepticism about. Whether promises are kept will shape your bonds with people and your ability to believe in and trust anyone.

I think even more importantly, it imprints on us as people and shapes our own ideals about who we are and what we serve as in roles in our independent lives.

I reason and believe that once you lose your confidence in someone, there can be no true and honest relationship that is mutually authentic and sincere. You can’t dedicate yourself to someone that you don’t believe can do the same. It doesn’t mean those relationships are forever broken — but much work and humility must go into the reparation and renewal of that relationship.

When abandoning a promise made to someone, you are relinquishing your ability to establish a strong and equal commitment with them. Not only does the other party end up with no conviction in the relationship, you jeopardize the chance for depending on them. I know that when I don’t have faith in someone, I don’t truly make an attempt to allow them a closeness to me — the risks are too great.

In a relationship that is already developed and supported by a history, breaking a promise can be interpreted as lying, and this can create a sense of betrayal. I find that disloyalty initiates despondency or hurt. Returning to the analogy of the tree root, I believe that once promises are broken that tree is weakened; sometimes it will stop growing altogether.

For the promises you cannot follow through on, don’t make them, they only have the ability to hinder you and your relationships. We each have a responsibility to know our own limits and what we are prepared to do for those that permit us the honor of standing as their friend. As for the promises you do make, and keep, you can only be rewarded with a loyal and faithful bond. That is the legacy I choose to leave.