On Commitment

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

‘Commitment’ can be a pretty heavy word. To ‘Commit’ means to give in trust or charge, or to pledge oneself (Source). If we consider some of the most common uses of the phrase however, we see that all too often, it bears some life-altering implications. People may commit a crime, or they may commit suicide. They may attempt to commit suicide, and then be committed to the hospital. We might commit to one another, and then we might break that commitment by committing adultery.

Of course, we also commit sin, as duly evidenced in plenty of the examples above.

The connotations of the word are often pretty negative, and all harbour the element of causing a permanent change in the life of those doing the committing (or having it done to them).

Of course, of all the different uses of ‘commit’, perhaps the most dreaded is the interpersonal commitment of loving relationships. Many a man will balk for as long as possible when the notion of serious commitment comes up. So will plenty of women. Evidently, committing to another person holds a special place among the most terrifying committals imaginable.

Understandably so…just as our previous examples illustrate that the act of committing can have life altering implications on a person’s identity or character, so too can the commitment of a relationship—for good or for ill. In this case especially, to commit is an act of faith: not only in ourselves and the permanency of our intentions, but-all the more terrifying to many—in the consistency of our beloved other.

It’s a gamble of sorts—a bid for potential value at the cost of immediate sacrifice or compromise. No doubt, the payoff can be far greater than the cost, but it remains an uncertainty, and hence presents a terrifying loss if the gamble does not work out.

Committing to another person is an act of giving with no guarantee of receiving. Indeed, the committer may end up bereft of pay-off, exposed and humiliated by their misplaced faith, and left to crawl back jaded and bitter to lick their wounds in dismal solitude.

For a time, they may commit only to themselves. But this isn’t such a bad thing either. All the forms of commitment we’ve discussed require some element of change—whether permanent and uncompromising, or merely a change in our priorities, values, or beliefs. Sometimes, it is merely the change from safety and comfort to risk and chance. But then, this is the case with all things worthwhile in this world. Sure, commitment in all its forms entails change and risk, but we must remember that the only thing worse than changing is the alternative.

The final form of commitment is commitment to self—and this is perhaps the most undervalued of them all. It may take the most sacrifice, and force one to endure the greatest amount of suffering—be that from working physically to change one’s lifestyle or environment, or simply from facing with an honest eye the unpleasant realities of one’s life, and committing to changing them one at a time.

Commitment to self can range from changing your lifestyle or diet in a healthy way, working to further your career, changing your circle of friends, or any other means of improving yourself: physically, mentally, or spiritually. It’s such a broad topic, you can find countless blogs on this very subject, such as that of our good friends over at the venerable ‘Fitness: Fact and Fiction’ (Link).

When it comes to commitment of any sort, more often than not, it’s simply easier not to bother. There is great safety in security after all, and to remain stagnant assures that no greater harm may come. When a child is lost, they’re typically taught to stay where they are—for if they wander about looking for rescue, they are apt to find themselves even more lost. But this isn’t about children, and true commitment requires a more mature mind than all that. There come times in all lives that a person will feel lost, and it may seem that all around them is nothing but open ocean and despair. Each way presents the risk of drifting further from the invisible shore. But if one does not commit to some course or the other, they will remain trapped in the doldrums of inadequacy and isolation. To commit to ourselves, or to another, is to seek the change we need. Damn the risks, damn the sacrifice! In the end, life is change, and it behooves us all to plot our course with confidence and hold true onto the rudder. There are a million ways to go, and countless treasures to be found. First though, one must take their leap of faith, set their eyes bravely on the horizon, and commit themselves to reaching it.

-Brad OH Inc.

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