Commitment: It’s Not What You think
Yesterday, I was listening to one of my favorite books in the car, and a certain line jumped out at me that I wanted to share with you guys, because, well, you’re my people. In fact, I think it could be one of those life-changing, one-liner concepts which seem creep up on us the more we think about it. I’ll give you the idea, and then we’ll expand upon it a bit. Get fleshy and intertwined with it... take it to bed and discover all its curves…
The radical thought of the day is: We are just as committed to our negative stories and habits as we are to wishing for and thinking about positive changes.
Now, if that doesn’t make sparks go off in your world or give you Goosebumps upon hearing it, that’s ok. I’m pretty sure once I’m done explaining it, you’ll get what I mean when I say it’s life-changing information.
Usually when we use the term committed, it’s in a positive light. As in: “They’re a committed couple,” or “She’s committed to accomplishing all her goals,” or “One day he just committed and everything changed,” or even “I’m committed to learning XYZ.”
Each and every one of these scenarios denotes a special sort of dedication, admirable in any society for the strength and perseverance it implies. Commitment is something we strive for, yearn for and search for. It’s something that leads us to where we hope to be and carries us through rough seas. It’s a word that gives us resolve when we feel weak and is a virtue to uphold when we feel confused or apathetic. Commitment is the difference between dreaming your dreams and making them a reality. The difference between those who merely get through life and those who LIVE a life… right?
Now that you’re all fired up and feeling sufficiently motivated, let’s look at this from another perspective. Commitment is, after all, a neutral word. We can be, and are, committed to many things, most of which don’t actually serve us in any way, shape or form.
That two o’clock soda run you go on every day? Commitment. That yoga class you sign up for every week but never go to? Commitment. That argument you swear you won’t start with your spouse but just can’t resist? Commitment. That judging stare you give the mom with the screaming toddler? Commitment. The story you keep telling yourself about how you could never leave your 9-5 job and start your own business? Commitment.
Commitment, commitment, commitment.
We are dearly committed to our negative, self-sabotaging stories, yet we look at them as if someone else is doing these things to us. We complain that we just can’t seem to break our bad habits as if we are a puppet and our master is forcing us to oblige. Yet, if we sit back long enough, we’ll see that actually, we’re just committed. We’re committed to living in fear and smallness, and we’re absolutely committed to living within our routines. Why? Because it’s what we know. If you’ve ever tried to make a change, of any kind, and found yourself diving back into old patterns, you’re a victim of your own commitment issues. You’ve committed yourself to living, being and showing up in a certain way, as a certain person, and dammit, you’re going to follow through with it. I know this because I too fall into these traps. I once was terribly committed to being the anxious, judgmental, scared and closed-off girl I’d always pictured myself as. I was also committed to the idea that my body would never look or feel well and that I was destined to be sickly forever. And you know what? My commitment paid off. I WAS all those things and more. Every thought that crossed my mind and every action I took was based off this platform – this commitment – and boy did it show.
Fast forward a bit …
One day, I remember thinking to myself that I would never be able to make a difference in anyone’s life because I didn’t get along with people. I was callous and nobody liked me. How would I ever become like the women I so admired who were filled with joy, vitality, enthusiasm and kindness?
You can probably see where I’m going with this, but, without knowing it at the time, I shifted my commitment. I decided I would fake it ‘til I made it and COMMITTED myself to living “as if.” As if I already was that woman I knew was in there waiting to be released. And you know what? It worked.
So, I ask you: What stories are YOU committed to that are holding you back? Where does your commitment lie and what is it costing you? Are you committed to fear? To unhealthy habits? To sadness and depression? To anxiety? To judgment? To eating a candy bar everyday? To skipping your meditation? To choosing a petty argument over real connection? To remaining stoic rather than diving into the sticky waters of vulnerability?
WHAT ARE YOU COMMITTED TO????
My hope in sharing this with you is not to shame you. We ALL have commitment issues. There’s not one single person walking this earth who hasn’t at one point or another had several commitments that would be best put to rest. You’re not alone in your fears, and you’re certainly not alone in your wounds. The parts of ourselves that we’d like to cover up and hide are really just wounds to our delicate, childlike souls. The places that don’t see much light and we’d rather keep tucked away than have them paraded about for the world to see. And that’s ok.
Changing your commitments doesn’t have to be a public event. It doesn’t have to be posted about on social media (but if you’re motivated by that then go for it!). These can be private shifts, but I urge you to take a look and see what you find.
You might be surprised to see just how many commitments you’ve made in your lifetime after all.