Broken Promises

Recently, I went to the movies (increasingly rare these days) to see “Independence Day: Resurgence”. Beyond the pros and cons of the movie itself (let’s just say it was a bad, but fun, movie), something stuck out to me. In the midst of the world ending around her, a nurse ensures one of her patients (a new mother) that she’s not going to die today.

“You are not going to die today. I promise!”

Really? You promise? Do you really believe that? Despite the really large fireball, larger than the building itself, set to hit you in about 30 seconds?

I understand the dramatic license within the context of the movie. I get that. What I don’t understand is why people say this in real life. Intelligent, rational people. They make promises they have no intent on living up to. Maybe they know at the time of the promise, maybe they don’t. But the fact that they don’t know 100% that they will keep that promise reinforces the fact that they shouldn’t have made it in the first place.

At that point, it’s NOT a promise. It’s a hope. At best.

Yet, we (as humans) won’t lower the sentiment to simply a hope. We keep raising that proverbial bar. We keep promising. And then, we break them.

Why do we believe the disappointment born of a broken promise is better than the disappointment from hope? Or better than simply not promising or instilling the original hope in the first place?

I know I’ve not been clean in this respect over the course of my life. I know that for a fact. To this day, I try to make up for the promises I have broken.

I just wonder why we (as a people) continue to over-promise by default. Give me the truth up front. Every. Time. It’s the trust that matters the most in every relationship we have. Trust in me. And give me every reason, and opportunity, to trust in you.

Don’t promise me something you can’t live up to.


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