Promises to Myself

This weekend I happened upon this old post and stopped to read all the things I’d promised to myself.

Even though I am definitely working on healing, I’ve still been having a real tough time recovering. So, looking at the list, these words struck me:

I will turn to good things when difficult things happen: Good things are there all the time. So many of them. Good things happen. Bad things happen. Neither lasts. Life is moving all the time. I will always choose to focus on the good. I will seek it and find it. I will.

I will forgive myself, no matter what: Yes. I am human. I mess up. I deserve to be forgiven. I will forgive fully. Fully.

I choose what is: Because it is what it is. I will choose it. It will empower me.

Here’s the thing: it’s easy to stick to all these promises, to be happy and to savor and to have a positive perspective when life is good. It’s easy to say I will forgive myself when I don’t have anything to forgive myself for. It’s during these tough times that all this gets put to the test. It’s during those times that I have to rise up to the challenge of keeping these promises.

But, yet, I’ve been having a hard time doing so. Having a hard time letting things go. Paying attention to the good and not letting the bad cast a shadow on my wonderful life.

And so I came back to these and read them again and again and again until they sunk in. I went through my lists here and picked a bunch of the good items. I put on some loud music. I kissed my kids. I took a walk with my family. I did art. And I worked. I got stuff done. I am trying to move forward. To go back to the promises I made myself. I still believe in every one of these promises. I want to go where the peace is.

I want to turn to good things. I want to pay extra attention to the good. There’s so much good in my life. My husband has been an angel through all this. I cannot even express the words of gratitude I feel for him. I didn’t think I could love him more but I was wrong. I love him so much more and feel so grateful that it hurts.

And I owe it to him and to my kids and to my good life to pay attention. It is times like this that test my resolve. That really show me whether I can do it. And I want to prove to myself that I can. If it means I have to listen to loud music nonstop for a while, so be it!

As I was pondering all this last weekend, I was visiting one of my favorite art journalers, iHanna, and it was as if she was thinking of me when she shared this quote:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Here’s to hoping I can truly be done with each day and can keep my promises and rise to meet my wonderful life.

8 comments to Promises to Myself

  • Kate Burroughs

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You sound like you think you are less of a person if you aren’t perfect every day, in every way. I am sure that you are doing the best that you can and are trying to improve every day. What more could anyone ask for? I love that quote by Emerson. It is good to well and truly start each day anew with no regrets for what has gone on before. Practice loving kindness with yourself.
    Aloha, Kate

  • Louise

    Please know that a complete stranger half a world away is sending you positive energy and wishing you all the best for this fresh, new day. Mine has started with a dawn chorus of morning doves and the time to walk through my tiny garden, cup of coffee in hand, to welcome three new blooms. With gratitude for your blog, and all best wishes.

  • Renee

    All of your writings are so meaningful to me. They always make me stop and think because they seem to be saying things I feel alot of the time. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you. Thank you!!!

  • Cheryl

    A blink of an eye. That’s all it takes to encounter a life altering event. Be gentle with yourself. Sway to the loud music. Laugh with your kids. Love your husband. A blink, Karen.

  • Cheri Stine

    A few weeks ago, I came across this evening prayer. It “spoke” to me because I was working on being “done with each day”. I have been reading it each night before bed and it is soothing and comforting. Perhaps it will work for you:
    God, It is night
    The night is for stillness
    Let us be still in the presence of God
    It is still after a long day,
    What is done has been done; what has not been done has not been done
    Let it be.
    The night is dark.
    Let our fears of the darkness of the world, and of our own lives, rest in you.
    The night is quiet
    Let the quietness of your peace enford us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
    The night heralds the dawn.
    Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibiities.
    In your name, we pray. Amen
    This is “Night Prayer” from the Anglican Church in New Zealand. I am not Anglican, nor from New Zealand, but this prayer has become mine. Maybe it can become yours, too.

  • Ami

    Karen, I too used to have these horrid ups and downs and then I became an SGI-Buddhist. Learning that the 10 worlds are a part of all of us always and that we can be on a higher level each time they happen and deal with them so differently has changed my life completely. I will send Daimoku (chanting) your way and hold you in my thoughts.

  • J Rice

    sorry you’re having rough times. If you’re interested I would love to tell you about the Prince of Peace sometime. I invited Him in to my life several years ago. God bless you.

  • I can so relate to everything you are struggling with. My husband recently told me I should have been an analyst because I over think everything. Add to this that I am emotionally intense by personality. These traits present themselves as both strengths and challenges. They are part of what make me who I am. I accept them and embrace who I am. That said I like you have had to find ways to channel my thinking and emotional responses. And also like you blogging, art, a wonderful supportive husband and a family I adore are all ways that I refocus and get grounded in all that is good and all that I am grateful for. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable and real in sharing your process.

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