Ever wondered why you make a big commitment to something, truly saying, “this time”…go full gusto and then crash and burn like a firework?
Me too! Well at least I used to…
I did this merry old dance for a long time.
Now I see that actually with a few tweaks it’s easy to have a totally different relationship, even to the WORD itself.
Let’s face it, COMMITMENT can bring some people out in hives.
The biggie is often relationships. So, I’m going in right there today, stay with me.
For many there’s an association with the C word that feels heavy.
In fact, when I looked up the definition one said,
“An engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.”
Nice. Just what I’m going for. Restriction of my freedom.
I honestly think that’s how many of us see that word.
Like it’s going to be hard (click right here if you want to read about how NOTHING needs to be hard) and we’re going to have to dig deep.
Another. thing. I. have. to. do.
We’ve turned it into a dance: we commit, we fail, we give up, we feel bad and then, for the twist in the tango, we then go do the exact opposite of the thing we committed to so fervently.
Then we trundle along till we’ve mustered up enough energy and decide it’s time to go again. Only THIS time, we’ll be MORE committed.
Dieting is the best example in the world. You’ve got this nailed all week, Friday comes, you’re tired and need a rest from all that restriction. Out come the chocolates and all of a sudden. You. Can’t. Stop.
Big fat fail. For which you must beat yourself up. And then eat more chocolate. Because in for a penny…
NEXT TIME it will go perfectly, because I will commit MORE.
You know this dance right? You are a pro at every step.
That was me too.
Me and commitment, we’ve been having moments for years. I came from a family that disintegrated almost the moment I was born. I learnt early that because someone said they were committed didn’t mean they actually were. Or certainly not in the conventional sense.
I waited until I was 30 before I got married. I wanted to “make sure” this was the right relationship. I’d lived with someone before and it hadn’t worked out. It hurt. When my partner asked me to move to Scotland, I decided I wasn’t playing house again, we needed a conversation.
Were we committed or not?
To me, committed meant one thing. Marriage.
It was an ultimatum. He chose the big wedding.
In my mind, it meant we were in something together. Invested. No longer playing at it, no more “try before you buy” or trial periods. We were IN.
It represented security and forever. I can even remember walking down the aisle believing I would never kiss another person.
Except, not so much.
Within months we were in trouble. The word commitment became lost in expectations, accusations, judgements and fear.
It was obvious that the word commitment didn’t mean the same thing to two people or even the same thing moment to moment.
Of course it doesn’t. It can’t.
Because that’s the thing about commitment is it’s fluid;
It’s anchored in context, what’s happening at the time and the truth that WE are human. We change our minds. All the time.
Before you start thinking that we can abandon this word commitment all together, I think commitment is a fantastic thing. I simply think we should start from a completely different place.
We CREATE commitment. We don’t get it or give it, we CREATE IT.
I see time and time again how people have all kinds of conditions of commitment.
‘If he shows me he’s committed, then I will commit…’
‘When I know it’s safe then…’
‘When I am happy, thin, retired, have time blah blah then….’
Everything is anchored in ‘If’ and ‘When’.
We give CONDITIONALLY. Waiting for the next part of the deal to be presented before we consider our next move. Like a game of chess. When I give I get. And vice versa.
We want the full amazing results from being all in and yet we’re just dancing at the edges.
Dipping our toe in the water, testing out whether it’s warm or not. Walking round to get a sense of the size of the pool. Always checking out if there’s a plan B option BEFOREHAND. Because then we’d know we’d be safe right? Or at least we’d know we wouldn’t get hurt.
You know what we’re actually doing with these failsafe plans?
PREPARING TO FAIL.
We are saying right from the get go that WHEN this doesn’t work out, it will be ok because I’ve already checked the emergency exits.
We are saying WHEN you prove you’re all in then (and only then) I will be. Until then, I will torture myself as to whether you are. Dreaming of what it could be like if you were, how different things could be. In the mean-time I’ll show up hoping or expecting it all and giving you a bit. Holding back. Just in cases.
Here’s the really bonkers thing.
The other person is probably doing the same. Like two peacocks in a courtship both wondering why the other one isn’t showing up.
Commitment to what you truly want – love, trust, honesty, authenticity, freedom is what will CREATE that in your life.
Read that again. You might have missed it.
It’s the commitment itself that creates what you want.
You showing up, standing FOR THAT is what will have people show up AS THAT in your conversations, interactions and in every part of that relationship.
You saying “I’m willing to go first”, to BE that person who believes in what is possible, to show up as committed to their values, to go all in is what CREATES that experience.
Saying you know what I could get hurt and I’m still going anyway. Because I back myself and I’d want the same from someone else.
Saying I’m here and I know when I play full out, everything changes, there’s fun, light, ease, flow. magic even happens and that’s what I want.
Don’t believe me?
You try giving half ass to anything and see if you get a fulfilling experience. You don’t. You can’t. You’re only half there.
It’s not a passive thing that can be banked either. You have to keep refreshing the commitment.
I recently got married again. I honestly didn’t think it would happen. My partner was clear. It is not happening. His first marriage had failed and he’d spent years since feeling the guilt and recurring shame of a family breakdown.
Me? I wanted to. I saw it differently. And of course, if he was REALLY committed, surely he would want it too.
One day I decided to make it easy. I dropped it.
I knew I loved him and he loved me. It was enough. More than.
And then in a bizarre Life Plot Twist, we did get married (a beautiful small wedding this time).
This time it is different.
It’s a public and private declaration of commitment to each other.
A way of saying this is my foundation, my priority, the space I will consistently come back to, and show up in. Where I will be me, in my fullest unlimited sense, hiding nothing, giving everything.
The commitment isn’t the legal ceremony or even the piece of paper. Those are elements of a wedding.
The commitment we made was to show up EVERY DAY for the marriage.
Commitment for me is that – the showing up.
It’s about saying I’m all in and in this moment, this is the most powerful choice I can make in this relationship and FOR it. Not from a place of what can I give or get – from a place of what do I want to Create.
It’s about saying I won’t take you for granted. That when we go through troubled times, I won’t lessen my love for you. I will show up, I will support you, I’ll stay in the sticky conversations when at times it might feel easier to bail.
So, we stay true to our love and what we both want. Time and time again. As many times, as we need to. It’s about dedication, faithfulness, loyalty, attentiveness.
Do I know it will last forever?
I CANNOT KNOW THAT. I cannot know anything that far in the future with that degree of certainty.
Do I know that even in this most powerful of commitment I might still show up as less than full beam?
I also know that if I commit to making it my priority, it has the best chance possible of being the most incredible solid partnership imaginable.
To have someone who gets the bones of me, sees me naked, in every sense and loves me as who I am. And sees that reflected in who I am Being with him too.
Yep, Commitment – CREATES MAGIC.
And commitment unrefreshed dies. Yes really.
You can’t bank it, you have to renew it. Otherwise it dies.
The fire in the tummy, the passion in your pants, the drive to really go for it, the zing to jump out of bed and really give it everything you’ve got. It dies if you don’t refresh it.
It’s important that regularly we check back in, step back, reboot. And go again.
Of course marriage is an example of commitment.
You may want other things. Great.
You want more fun, connection and joy in your life?
Then commit to that. Being that, creating that, showing up as that. Not waiting for it to come to you in some future moment when…or hoping someone else will provide it.
Our lives are often a mirror of what we believe, our habits, patterns.
We come from a place of anger guess what shows up? More anger. We call it the boomerang effect. Try showing up with gratitude, love and compassion and see what you get back then. It’s pretty liberating.
So instead of beating yourself up about what you haven’t committed to or been successful at why not try something different?
Take a moment.
Take 3 long deep breaths.
Create some space.
Ask yourself this;
What do I WANT to create in my life?
If I was to go ALL IN, what would that look like?
You know the answer. You always do.
So now you know, next time I’m going to share some super easy tools and techniques you can use every single day, every time you commit to make it even easier for it to stick.
Love you AND YOUR COMMITMENT.