I once went on a date with a man who had just completed his 7-year law degree, got the piece of paper and swore to never give another ounce of his energy to law again.
He went on to travel the world and search for what really made him tick.
You know what I respect more than people who don’t use the piece of paper they have no interest in using?
People who don’t finish the piece of paper.
That’s right y’all — people who drop out.
People who quit.
People who quit the things they no longer care for.
One of the most vital things I have learned in my walk on this blue and green earth is one simple thing:
When we keep an agreement it shows that we not only honor and respect the person involved, but also our own word.
When we break an agreement, it shows that we don’t honor and respect the person involved or our own word.
*Insert “aha” moment and explanation for why flakey people drive us fucking nuts.
When you up and keep your word with other people it makes them feel valued, respected, loved and important.
Same thing goes for our word with ourselves.
This is why completion and follow through feels so satisfying.
(Marriage, and degrees are big examples of our agreements we make with both ourselves and another human.)
If people constantly break their word with us “I’ll quit drinking and driving” “I’ll never cheat on you again” “That was the last time I will gamble” we start to doubt and loose confidence in them.
Same goes for ourselves — when we are constantly setting agreements and breaking them, on top of feeling shitty, we start to lose confidence in ourselves and the weight of our word.
It shakes our confidence in our ability to make drops, keep agreements and show up for both ourselves and other people.
All agreements matter equally as far as our relationship with ourselves is concerned.
Whether it is breaking a 30-day yoga challenge, doing our taxes when we say we are going to do them, completing a degree, or setting an alarm to wake up and go to the gym—these are all agreements and mirrors of our ability to show up for ourselves and our word.
They come in all shapes and sizes.
Ever hit snooze and feel guilt?
That’s because you broke the agreement.
The agreement wasn’t wake up at 7 am and sleep for thirty minutes and not go to the gym, the agreement was get up at 7 am and go to the gym.
Then what happens?
Guilt, shame, beating ourselves up, feeling bad.
The second most important thing I have learned that intelligent and brave people know how to do — is to adjust agreements that no longer serve and honor them.
What does this mean?
If our gut speaks out to us in resistance to a prior agreement — listen to it.
To understand with empathy and compassion that at one point in our lives the agreement we made was what we wanted and choose, but that it no longer is what we want and to fucking honor that.
To listen to it.
To respect and appreciate and bow down to our truth, even when it isn’t what we want to hear.
It means that sometimes it is more loving to walk away from agreements, than it is to keep them, merely for the sake of keeping them.
Why do we so badly try convince ourselves to stay in agreements we’ve outgrown merely for the sake of keeping them?
Because it feels good to keep agreements — we are wired that this completion is good. No completion is bad.
Because most of us are generally loyal, integral human beings who like to see their word and shit through.
But it isn’t always loving to see shit through that we are checked out of.
Sometimes it is more loving to just, check out.
Let somebody else check in who really wants to be there.
Don’t finish the law degree you have no interest in actually using. Our society get’s hard ons for certification — but what I get hard ons for is people who follow through with their truth.
Don’t marry the person you are engaged to if you wake up one day and say, “I should be more excited than this”. Respect the person sleeping next to you by knowing somebody could and can love them better. Know if you stay for the sake of staying, you are taking up space in their life. Is following through with your word and giving someone an inauthentic half ass in it partner for life really a favor for them?
Break the lease and lose the damage deposit. Move to the city you really wanted to move to before you shrunk back to what was comfortable and signed on to yet another year lease in a city you outgrew eons ago.
Marriage is probably the biggest agreement we make, and sometimes most damaging to adjust.
How the fuck are we supposed to know that we will wake up everyday and love somebody?
That is ridiculous.
Someday we might roll over and not love that person, and then what?
Feel bound with guilt and obligation to keep our word and try force ourselves back into love?
Thank god for divorce.
One of the most loving things we can do for both ourselves and other people is to honor our truths.
To say, “I don’t love you anymore. I don’t even know why or when it happened, but I don’t.”
This gives both human beings the opportunity to go out into this world and love deeper, love again.
I recently met a 91-year-old man who just got remarried.
We make choices and commitments and agreements that are in alignment and authentic to us in the present moment.
You are not a mind reader or a future knower.
You could be crazy about teaching and wake up 15 years later and want to be a paleontologist.
I might wake up in 6 years and decide I hate writing and open up a food truck stand in California.
The only thing that is true to us, deep in our bones is what we feel in this moment.
When we make an agreement, we are committing to our truth in the now, and that is a beautiful thing.
It might change.
The weather forecast might say, “No rain” and you might get caught in a thunderstorm.
No point getting mad about it–it just is what it is.
Knowing we needed an umbrella would of been great, but we couldn’t have known–it’s okay.
Learning to adjust agreements lovingly, with grace, is very different from being flakey, or choosing consciously to not show up because we “don’t feel like it” or would rather watch Netflix on the couch.
Adjusting agreements is when something is not in alignment anymore, and putting it back in alignment.
Why the fuck would you send another 365 days finishing a degree when you’ve known for 4 years you will never use?
Afraid of disappointing your family who paid for you to go through university so you don’t end up working in construction like your dad?
Fuck it–disappoint them.
Don’t live your life for other people–it’s a disservice to them and yourself.
There is an incredible difference in not being present/intentional in our choices, and honoring when the choices we make are no longer in alignment and need adjusting.
So, love somebody until you love them.
Do a job until you don’t love it.
Go find what gives you relentless joy.
And if that thing changes–go find what else does.