Keeping Promises to myself

A month ago, my friend and I made a pact: to write two blog posts a month. We’d remind each other to write on the first and 15th of the month. My previous post was the first. And today I saw his email: “Hey, no time to blog?”. Damnit.

The big problem I have is this: I don’t keep promises if they are for my sake only. If I make a promise to someone else, to do some work that benefits them, I will do overtime to make it. If I make a promise to myself, and even worse, when I enlist someone else’s support to keep my promise, I fail. I fail every time. Why?

I have an inverted set of values. Seriously. I’m working hard to reverse them. I can make as many promises to myself as I want, I tend to give other people’s emotions (or what I perceive to be their discomfort, real or imagined) priority. It’s really unhealthy. The past two weeks I have been working on a situation as if I am the sole responsible person, the one who must set things right or else other people will be uncomfortable. Who is seriously overwhelmed? Me. Am I to benefit greatly from this work? Not at all. Does it matter to my value system that it’s to my disadvantage? Hell no.

I thought about it and I realize my “old programming” was exposed to experiences, way back in the past, where other people’s discomfort (anger, panic) was a prelude to physical danger for me. So it concluded: I must keep other people happy to be safe. Even if other people’s concerns have nothing to do with mine, if I see or imagine any sign in someone else that they might be uncomfortable or dissatisfied, if I see any danger to others, my alarm systems start screaming. I must compulsively drop everything that is in my own best interest, and make sure that the danger is solved.

The shitty thing is that I’m often right when it comes to detecting things that are “off”. I’m often one of the first who notice that there’s a problem. I first thought this warning system is there to keep me safe. But in reality, I will run towards the fire. Every time. In truth, my warning system has subverted itself. It should make me run away at the sight of danger to myself! Why does it not do that? I realize that this ability was sabotaged a long time ago. Back then, I could not leave the situation that was most dangerous to me. Running away meant getting kicked. So my only option was to do damage control. Today, choosing for my own well being, comfort and safety is still not number 1 on my list. I am working hard to reverse that. One decision at a time. I must work extremely hard to put myself first, to keep my promises to myself. Nobody else will do it for me.