I think I’m going to take a break from the “promises” series. I enjoy writing them, and they’re great for transparency and personal accountability, but they’re being read by about, oh, three people. As much as I’d like to keep writing them, it’s apparent most people aren’t interested. It’s tough putting so much effort into something only to realize nobody really cares. But this isn’t about getting pity or sympathy; it’s about vulnerability.
A funny thing happens when you make a bunch of one-sided promises to people or spell out some of your most personal thoughts and ideas in a public forum: you feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is a good thing, really, but it can be extremely uncomfortable.
Vulnerability opens you up to new experiences. The problem with being open is it can feel scary. Dangerous, even. That fear of danger or risk the ego’s way of protecting itself from harm. Think of it like this: A dog who loves and feels safe with its owner will roll over and expose its underside for some delicious belly rubs. The second there’s any kind of unfamiliar distraction, it’s on its feet again. Say a bee comes along and stings the dog on the belly while it’s turned over. Bam! Off and running. No more soft belly, no more exposure to risk, and you can bet that dog will think twice the next time it exposes its tummy for lovin’.
So if you’re making a public promise to be more and do better or if you have grand plans that seem to fall flat, be prepared to get stung from time to time. It’s nobody’s fault, really. It’s just the nature of exposing your belly.