We're a society of instant gratification and convenience.
Ah, commitment. When we think of commitment in relation to today's relationships, we primarily think it means being with one person. Monogamy. Not cheating. You are committed to that person.
I think, though, it is a word that is thrown around too easily. Much like how we "love" people we barely know and "hate" people we have never met. Words that once had deep meaning and were reserved for those experiences of being gripped at your very core by the emotion you were expressing, have begun to lose their meaning due to overuse.
Using words like love in a brand new relationship, where we have not experienced enough of a person to truly know them, waters down the term for those who actually mean it. For those who have built and created it alongside their partner for years. For those who value it for what it is: a deep, meaningful connection with another person that cannot be replaced.
When we say we love someone, we are expressing what you feel to be a commitment to that person. It is a pledge to stand by their side and be part of their life even when challenges arise. You do not walk away from someone you love. You do not constantly fight with someone you love. You do not lie to or disrespect someone you love. This is what love means.
You commit to someone you love. You feel the pain they feel and you lend them your strength to overcome their challenges. You stand in front of them to shield them — beside them to be their teammate, and behind them to support them. You are the person they can count on to be left standing when all of the dust settles.
There is a famous quote by Orebela Gbenga which nicely outlines the idea of commitment: "Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you."
It translates easily to relationships: when you commit to someone, you are committing to all of them. You are committing to their positive qualities and their negative qualities. You are committing to be there during their sunny days and to hold the umbrella over them during their rainy days.
You are committing to someone's whole self. You are not just committing to them under the condition that they stay young and beautiful, because they will not. And neither will you. You are not just committing to them until someone better comes along; you are committing to the idea that there is nobody better for you.
You are committing to their very being. To them as a person. To the idea that the two of you are the consistent center and your circumstances simply orbit around you.
We are losing this idea of commitment. We are jumping into relationships too soon. We are making life-altering decisions alongside people we barely know. We are a society of convenience, instant gratification, and unstable loyalty. As we change phones for the newer, advanced one, we are doing the same with relationships.
We are replacing each other as if memories were never shared. As if traditions were never built. As if we were not together as one, both emotionally and physically.
We symbolically erase each other by deleting old photos off of Facebook and social media, effectively deleting memories and someone's entire existence from your past. In doing so, we are deleting parts of ourselves. Memories. Experiences that made us who we are today. It has become so easy to just... forget, and move on.
Of course, people grow apart. Hurt, lies, and betrayal break up relationships. Nothing and nobody is perfect, and we cannot be expected to stay committed to someone who has broken our trust or their commitment to us.
But aside from these circumstances, commitment is not a matter of convenience — it is a matter of one's word being their bond.
Commitment is not just an arbitrary word to be found in the dictionary. It is not just a statement of temporary monogamy. It is a pledge, a vow, a way of living that embodies honor and integrity. Commitment is not a rule, or a regulation — it is an action.
Commitment is not the act of losing your freedom, but exercising it to choose who you want to give your most valuable gifts to: Your time, your emotions, and your heart.
This article was originally published at James Sama. Reprinted with permission from the author.