On Keeping Your Word

I have a confession to make.

Very recently I told one of my members in my family that I will spend my coming New Year’s Eve with them at a place out of my home town. As a result of my confirmation, they made New Year plans keeping my presence in mind.

As it turns out, the time when I made the confirmation to the time when I was informed that the plan has been made, there is a gap of almost four weeks. Considering the varying structure of life situations, a lot has changed since these four weeks.

As a result, now I don’t want to go out-of-town away from my house to spend my New Year. Instead, I want to focus my time on something else.

Evidently, in order to fulfill my changed idea, I had to say No for the plan. In short, I am going away from my Word. I won’t say this is the best of the feelings of the world, especially considering my relation with the family member of mine. Yet, I know that by keeping my word I am not going to do any good to myself (and to them) either.

And this is my question to myself (which I ask to you too, for answers, more than introspection).

How important is it to keep one’s word? I know theory, Indian Rajput Kings and all the idealists of the world will say Yes to keeping one’s word more than one’s life. I guess we neither live in a theoretical, nor Rajput nor an ideal world.

As a follow-up to this, I have two more questions for you.

  1. Have you ever faced a situation in which no matter what, you kept one’s word, knowing clearly that this was not what you wanted to do? How did you feel?
  2. Have you faced a situation in which you, like me, did not keep your word because by then your thought inclination had changed? How was that feeling?

I have come to understand that while it is best to keep one’s word, at times keeping one’s word goes against the idea of selfishness thus depriving one of the happiness the outcome would otherwise have given. At such moments, going away from the word and doing what one wants might lead to more happiness in the long, if not in the short run. And being selfish may not always be a bad thing after all.

Let me know your thoughts on this.