I see a lot of writing in the self help and coaching world about “making commitments” and “having integrity.”
And for a long time, I put a lot on that. That all I have is my word.
It’s incredibly important to me when I have promised something to someone. I feel horrible when I miss a deadline.
But I had an experience this week that is beginning to change my mind. And I confess, I’m not sure yet what to do with it.
You see, my original #munndaymagic post this week was going to be about climbing a 14er. (A mountain higher than 14,000 feet.)
But when the time came to do it, I knew it wasn’t the right. So I was faced with a decision between keeping my word, and being true to myself.
We had dropped our son off at a month-long camp, and on the way back we stopped in a charming town called Buena (“Byoona”) Vista. Buena Vista is within a short drive of four different 14ers, and two sets of parents were planning on spending Saturday enjoying the town, and getting up early to climb (really more like really hard hiking) one of the 14ers on Sunday.
The other couple were veterans at this kind of climbing. My wife and I were the rookies. I was hesitant, but willing. I said I was game.
The husband ending up not making the trip. He caught COVID and was recuperating at home.
We had gotten up before 5 on the drop-off day, and I slept badly Saturday night as well. So Sunday morning, I didn’t feel so good.
I could have done it, but I really knew that physically I was not up to it. That, if I was true to myself, I would stay home that day while our wives (who are the more dedicated climbers anyway) went ahead and did the climb. That if I did the hike, I would end up angry at them (for “making” me do it) and me (for letting them).
I was so afraid of letting them down. I felt bad, until I realized something.
I often do what others want (or what I think they want) and make myself miserable in the process. And then I get mad at them, and at myself.
Here, it was clear to me that the right answer for everyone was for me to go back on my word, and for them to go on without me.
The first thing that I noticed is that they wanted to compromise, to do a shorter hike so I would come along, so that we do something together.
As I faced this additional temptation, I noticed that if I gave in, no one would be happy. In listening to myself, it became clear that my staying home was actually the best thing. I saw that they would have a great time without me, and that I would have a great time without them.
I broke my original commitment. I stayed home. I journaled. I saw how often I commit to things that I really don’t want to do, in an attempt to please others.
And they had an amazing time, and an even better time telling me about it.
Listening to myself, to my body, let me to some powerful insights.
What might it lead you to?