There is something fundamentally wrong with human beings, and never has this flaw in character been more evident than recent history reveals. Of course, one can’t see what one doesn’t even know exists, but suffice it to say that just because one is asleep to this flaw does not mean that he or she doesn’t suffer for its presence. I am speaking about what it means to give and to keep one’s word, whether to another or to oneself.
What is one’s “word”?
Understood or not, giving one’s word is how one says (and proves) that he or she is a real being, and not just some composite creature whose will, like an abandoned weather vane, bends in the direction of whatever the prevailing “wind” may be in the moment.
If one gives one’s word that he or she will do something, whatever its nature… be it to see that something gets done, or to stop doing some self-compromising behavior… then, if that person has to crawl on glass to keep that word, that’s what must be done. You see, while we may disappoint others when we fail to keep our word, the one who is really hurt by our inaction, or lack of resolve, is us; and the more times we give our word to be or do something required of us, and don’t give our entire self over to its successful conclusion, the easier it becomes for us to give way the next time — to create and believe in whatever excuse we give ourselves for why we were not able to be one whole human being.
Now, in case the lesson here isn’t clear yet… this is the point: anything, any part of us that makes excuses for why exterior conditions — whatever their nature — are greater than our interior resolve to act, is a non-entity, an imagined identity that exists only for as long as circumstances allow. And further, any part of us that believes the same excuses is this falsity’s reflection.
Keep your word; the cost is nothing compared to what is lost if you don’t.