Commitment is not a comfortable word, and yet we've turned it into one. Commitment requires persistence, faith, and a lot of patience. It requires the ability to say no to yourself. It requires the ability to move outside your personal perspective and consider a larger one. It requires the ability to see the bigger picture, over and over and over. And over. It requires the ability to be a parent to the child in you that kicks and screams that he/she wants it his or her way. It requires honoring the "you" that made the promise to begin with.
Every commitment we make is a reflection of our integrity, our alignment with who we are. And every commitment we break reflects that, too. Breaking commitments affects our self esteem. It doesn't feel good. Our psyche doesn't understand the difference between big and small commitments. A commitment is a commitment. If we break the small ones enough, we're much more apt to break the larger ones, too. And every time we do that, we feel just a little bit less about ourselves.
To make a commitment, we need to understand what it is we're committing to. We need as much information as possible to make an informed decision so that we can stick by that decision when the going gets tough. Why? Because when we are up against resistance to a commitment we've made, our emotions are no longer reliable; we need to rely on our logic. But if we have entered into a commitment without enough information, logic, too, flies out the window. Two people can meet over a drink and get married 10 minutes later in Las Vegas. What logic will they be able to rely on when the going gets tough?
It feels very different to break a commitment after you've absolutely given it your all. But most of us don't ever reach that point. We back out too soon. How do you know when you've given it your all? You don't feel bad about the decision to pull out of the commitment. Period. You might feel sad, or even angry, but there's no guilt involved. None. Most of us cannot even relate to that concept, and that means that most of us have not given it our all.
The key to commitment is consciousness. Whether our commitment is to a lifelong partnership, to a daily workout routine or meditation, or to the credit card companies, the more conscious we can be of making it - or breaking it - the better we will feel about ourselves. If we enter into commitments consciously, with as much information as possible, then we are more likely to stay committed and less likely to break them. And if we do break them, we do so knowing that we are making an informed decision and that we've done all we can to honor them.
Today, I am going to take a close look at my life and see where my small commitments are and how much attention I'm paying to them. I understand my psyche doesn't know the difference between big and small, and so I'm going to look at small. I am also going to look at how committed I am to me, because I understand that the more committed to me I am, the less I break my commitments to others. And I am going to commit to making all my commitments consciously.
A society of integrity. It starts with me.