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analyze: promises
Sunday, September 28, 20082:58 PM

I’ve been thinking: what are promises? Why does everyone hold them with such great value, pride, respect and caution? Are they any different from sentences, words, and things like that? And if they are different, what makes them different? Is it the difference in tone and manner that they are spoken in, or presented, or is it just simply the person who says it? Why do people get so upset when someone doesn’t “keep their word”, but at the same time don’t bother keeping their own?

Consider this: a promise is a sentence, or made up of sentences. Sentences are made up of words, and words are, putting it crudely in lay-man’s terms, a bunch of sounds paired up with a bunch of lines in an “organized” way. TADAH. Ever thought about that? In short, promises are nothing but a bunch of sounds matched up with “organized’ lines that ancient humans came up with. Whoohoo. So where does a promise get its value from? What makes it so different from the other sentences (lots of lines with sounds) we exchange with one another every day? Why do we only feel relieved or afraid when someone says “I promise” at the end of a sentence?

Are promises exchanged with a different kind of emphasis? Does the person who is promising another present it in a more sincere and solemn way? Does the person go out of his/her way to make it stand out or seem more special? Words are thrown about so loosely these days, like litter on the streets. Have you noticed? Can anyone tell me the meaning of the phrase “I love you” and actually say that, meaning it whole-heartedly? (just a short pause, my definition of love is that I’d die for that person if need be, and readily too. What’s yours?) How many of us have said something, and ended up regretting it the very next day, or even the very next minute? Words thrown about loosely. Are promises really any different?

Many of us pretty much forget what others say (unless it’s something insulting about us, or if it’s a joke), but we use extra brain cells to remember something someone has promised us. Why? Is it because it’s to our advantage and will make us happier? Or is it because it’s something we don’t want and thus remember it in order to avoid it? Did the person who promised you place extra importance on it? Or is it the person who makes the promise so special?

And why is it so easy for people to pin us down when we forget/intentionally/unintentionally break what we promised them, but yet at the same time can’t live up to theirs? Maybe it’s part of the human nature to do that, crushing others to make ourselves feel better. But in that case, why do people still exchange promises? And all the more, why swear when you can’t keep a promise? (oh what’s swearing? It’s just like promising but more solemn. Like how people swear upon their lives/pet’s lives/most treasured stuff toy... yeah you get it.)

It annoys, frustrates and confuses me, because I am one who takes words from people seriously (unless you tell me beforehand that it’s a joke :]), as if the words represented the person who said/wrote it. So when people promise me, be it verbally or in written form, I take it hell seriously. Why so serious, you ask? I can’t help it. I was brought up that way, in an English speaking and appreciating background. I grew up with parents absent almost half the time, and that’s when I learned to substitute people for words. Whatever they said/wrote, I took the words and personified them in my mind, and I still do that today, as a habit thing. I do try to keep to my word (the best I can), but sometimes I don’t see the point in doing so, when so many people around me never bother to keep to their word. So why should I? Why should I have to go out of my way to keep my promise, when so many others just toss their promises into the recycle bin, re-using it again at another time, on another person?

One too many times have people broken the promises they made me, dissipating my trust in them, and further diminishing the meaning of a promise to me. It’s as though promises were a mere bunch of words people rattled off without much thought, with who knows how much intention to actually keep to them. It’s sad and disappointing, and I’m sure many people out there can understand and relate to where I’m coming from.

To end off, I’m beginning to fail to see a promise as a promise. It’s become nothing more than a pile of words strewn aside together, having no more meaning than an episode of MadTv on youtube.

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