- You never want to be poor again, so you grow up to be a materialist.
- You never want to treat your kids as strictly as your parents treated you, so you parent without rules and discipline.
- You never want to wear hand-me-downs, so you become label-conscious and exterior-oriented.
- You never want to let anyone hurt you again, so you avoid allowing people to get emotionally close to you.
These choices do not lead to life fulfillment; they only lead you to experience a different type of pain and loss. The interesting part of these promises we make to ourselves are the unexpected repercussions. The next generation generally goes back to the extreme you were avoiding in the first place, and renounces what you strived to accomplish. Because they saw what that internal drive did to you, they don't want the same life experience. For example, if the guiding force in your life was money and you promised yourself you'd never be poor, you probably became a workaholic. As a result, your kids suffered from not having you present in their lives and end up rejecting your lifestyle.
The promises you make to yourself become emotional hot buttons when anyone tries to block your vision. Everyone has their own ways of handling difficult, painful, and discouraging situations. That survival instinct gives us strength. The key is not to allow an inner vow to define yourself and rule over your life choices.
Nancy Pina is a highly recognized author, relationship coach, and speaker. She is dedicated to helping individuals attract emotionally healthy relationships through her practical, Christian-based advice. Visit here for articles, exercises, coaching options, and recent books.