Many of us grew up with a strong parental message that our word was our bond. There are many positives associated with this.
It made me want to follow-through on commitments, and not to commit to activities of which I was unsure.
It also made me very careful and very precise in how I use language (particularly in writing) so that I am not misunderstood, or thought to commit to something I didn’t intend.
However, an over identification with your word as your bond can also result in unnecessary rigidity and unjust self-blaming.
It can also result in staying in situations and commitments long after it’s reasonable or expected or healthy.
Staying in abusive relationships or jobs is an obvious no-no.
But the whole “word is your bond”, “make your bed and lie in it” concept surfaces in less dramatic ways. (And it sometimes sounds or feels punitive…)
For instance, continuing to volunteer out of simple loyalty for organizations that no longer nurture you or reflect your values is a drain on your energy.
Continuing marketing tactics in your business that either don’t work for you or don’t reflect your values simply because it seems like everyone else does it, or you’ve been told it’s the thing to do is insane. (As the former cold calling queen, I should know…)
Maintaining friendships with people who continually cancel dates or who never initiate activities with you is not a badge of honor and loyalty. It’s an unequal relationship.
The first contract you make is with yourself. If an activity or relationship turns harmful, draining, or unproductive, you are allowed to renegotiate the terms.
Values change, relationships change, people grow and change. You are allowed to change, too.
Your word may be your bond, but you are allowed to change the words.
You may have made the bed, but you don’t have to lie in it forever. You can change the sheets. You can turn the mattress.
Heck, you can throw out the entire bed and purchase a new one if you want.
May we pursue our paths, choosing and re-choosing the beds we wish to lie in,