We talk a lot about the ‘C’ word. Commitment. What it means, the pros and cons, what it takes to find it, how to maintain it. We are more or less conditioned from birth to want to commit to all sorts of things – a sport, a BFF, career track, a home and of course, a significant other. While there is the minority population – the renegades if you will, that buck the trend in refusal to commit to some or all of the above, most of us are comforted by at least the idea, if not the very act of commitment. SO much so, we are devastated when not only does it not happen to us, but it doesn’t happen to other people, even people we don’t know… can we say, visceral heartbreak over celebrity couples?
And while sure there are actual, clinically diagnosed commitment-phobes, most of us are not. If you want to do a quick self-diagnosis just ask yourself if you have ever had a fear of committing to buying a pair of shoes? No? Ok, that settles that… you are not a certified commitment-phobe… you are likely just affected by cultural circumstances. It still sucks, but at least you don’t know intensive therapy
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Ok, so there seems to be this incredible disconnect between what we are bred to desire, a tie that binds and how we live our daily lives. For example, we live in an economic time where one could argue that sometimes it makes more sense to rent/lease than it does to buy, respectively, a house or a car. We live in a consumer culture where we are often rewarded for not being loyal customers – ever been at the end of your cell phone plan… you are always far better off switching carriers, that’s when you get the good plan and a fancy new phone, not when you stay with your current carrier. We adopt friends of friends off of Facebook and then delete them later, stock up on trendy clothes for the moment and quickly retire them, we remove tattoos we swore we’d have forever and the list goes on.
Knowing all of this, either consciously or subconsciously, we still want to commit – to a house, or for the purposes of this blog, to a forever love. I know I did. I wasn’t in a rush to get it. After all, I wasn’t only affected on some level by culture, but also by my parents divorce. I was never afraid of commitment, I was just afraid of committing to the wrong thing. The thing that wouldn’t satisfy me forever. And I think that is a fair fear. I think that is a smart fear. So that is why we rent houses, lease cars, sample flavors at Yogurtland. That is why we date. We date and we date and we date some more because we don’t want to commit to the wrong thing. And anyone (mostly meaning nagging mothers) who tells you differently just may not understand the culture we are living in.
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So start thinking about the things that you actually do commit to and why you commit to them. Think outside of your love box. Think about the foods that you adore, spiritual alignments, types of entertainment, activities of interest, friends, specific jobs or even tasks at jobs. Think about how you spend your disposable income – as the saying goes, “put your money where your mouth is” – this can tell a lot about where your true loyalties lie, especially if money is tight. Once you hone in, getting as micro and specific as possible on where you commitments lie, you will be closer to knowing some truths about you – what is important to you – what has staying power in your life. And as you navigate your love life, keep those, or variations of those things in mind so that you stay as nurtured as possible because self-nurturing, i.e. self love as we often talk about, is a key tenant in a lasting, committed relationship.
Live and love largely,