I am commitment phobic. I fear making commitments and then not living up to them, thereby disappointing myself or others. I fear committing to the “wrong” thing. I worry that commitments place boundaries on my life, something I am resistant to. But, a commitment can also be thought of as choosing a path, a metaphor that resonates with me.
A path can provide focus and a sense of direction. But while following a path, there is the freedom to change direction if I find a fork that looks interesting. I am also free to leave the path all together and head out cross country if I see something in the distance of interest. A path is there to provide guidance, not constraints.
Likewise, commitments help to guide me in the direction I take my life. They limit the amount of choices I have to make in my day, usually for the better. For example, when I am training for an ultramarathon, there is no question when I wake up in the morning about whether or not I will go for a run or how long that run will be. When I am fully committed to something, I find it much harder to talk myself out of doing it.
The benefits of commitment are evident in many areas of my life. I have been committed to the same person for close to 20 years now and it has brought about a relationship of depth and intimacy that is only possible through so much shared time and experience together. Commitment has allowed me to run 100 miles. Commitment to a plant-based diet has provided me with more vitality and mental clarity. Commitment to a meditation practice is changing my treatment of others and my perception of myself and the world.
The benefits of being committed to something worthy are hard won. They take time to manifest. They require sacrifice and there are plenty of times of discouragement and doubt along the way, but a well chosen path is worth taking. Though we may not know where it leads, each step of the way can teach us something valuable.
Based on a journal entry from 6.23.14