By Olga Sheean
When Carl married Maria, back in ’85, he promised to love, honour, cherish and everything else he could think of to demonstrate his commitment to her. He lived for her smile, her approval and her reliance on him. Three years later, Maria began a love affair with alcohol … and Carl’s world crumbled.
When you commit to another person, your autonomy and sense of identity can quickly be subsumed by compromises, blurred boundaries and a disconnection from the heart. This kind of commitment is more a surrendering of self, which usually results in heartache, emotional/financial depletion or other dynamics that detract from, rather than enhance, your personal fulfilment.
True, healthy commitment is all about committing to yourself – to doing whatever promotes your personal evolution and to making conscious choices based on what’s best for you. It’s an exciting, dynamic process that takes you deeper into love, self-expression and empowerment, precisely because it’s based on your right to freely choose.
Maria’s lack of direction was the perfect counterpart to Carl’s need to be needed (which conveniently took the focus off him). It created a power vacuum, with neither one having control over the other’s decisions or values and neither one committing to their own fulfilment. If, like Carl, you try to rescue your partner or encourage them to be more committed to themselves, you may end up inadvertently supporting their lacklustre or self-destructive choices. Supporting any unhealthy dynamic keeps you stuck in dysfunction and prevents you from fully committing to yourself – and to having what you really want.
A lack of commitment to self can also prevent you from experiencing the intimacy you desire (and long-distance relationships are a common symptom of this). Relationships are designed to take us deeper into self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love. For as long as we fail to commit to this process, we remain on hold, inaccessible not only to prospective partners but also to ourselves.
So don’t be fooled by the commitment smokescreen; if commitment is missing in your relationships, remember that any lack of commitment to yourself will cause you to attract similarly uncommitted partners.
Make the commitment comeback
If commitment is an issue in your life, ask yourself the following questions:
· In what ways do I avoid doing what’s personally fulfilling for me?
· How do I hold myself back, in terms of my growth?
· When do I allow others’ needs to get in the way of my dreams or personal goals?
· Do I use my partner’s lack of commitment as an excuse to stay stuck?
· How could I go deeper with myself—emotionally, creatively and spiritually?
Your answers will help you to determine practical ways of fostering a deeper commitment to self. Do this and you will automatically start to attract partners and circumstances that support and reflect your faith in your self.
The commitment payoff
Committing to yourself is the only way to go. After all, you’re the only person you have control over and whose values and choices you can freely determine and live by.
When you’re committed to what’s best for you, you become magnetic, attracting the people, opportunities and resources that enhance your personal fulfilment and evolution. You also inspire others to be similarly committed, to make daring choices, to connect with their passions and to actively move forward with their own lives.
The biggest factor in building healthy, personal commitment is consciously choosing, in every moment, what’s healthy and right for you. If you can do that, in the face of possible resistance or rejection, you will increasingly attract the qualities that have been missing in your life.
Committing to anyone other than yourself sets you up for disappointment, dysfunction and disempowerment. Think of it as ‘3D commitment’ – the kind that’s guaranteed to bring you what you don’t want. The healthy variety – commitment to yourself, your growth, your values and your dreams – is the only kind worth living and loving for.
Olga Sheean is an author, therapist and personal empowerment coach who teaches a unique system of self-mastery designed to put you back in charge of your life. She offers in-person and online coaching/consultations worldwide. www.olgasheean.com / firstname.lastname@example.org