Monday, January 28, 2013

Commitment: What does it mean to you?

I was driving down the road this morning when I had an 'aha!' moment about commitment. I had been thinking about different definitions and examples of commitment, and how problems can arise when you commit to something, but you're not on the same page as whomever you made that commitment to.

When I commit myself to my goals, I pick and choose. I don't deeply commit to everything, because then I'd be overwhelmed. But when I find a worthy goal of pouring my heart and soul into, I do it. Using the bed & breakfast as an example, I'm so committed I have already started purchasing art for my home... when I don't even have the land or the architect yet! I have been monitoring my credit for the last year, checking my score periodically and working to improve it. Lately, I've had any changes to my report/score sent to my email immediately, because I'm looking at purchasing soon, and updates are a much more pressing concern now.

As an example of a goal I haven't completely committed to, let's use my weight loss goal. I want to achieve my goal weight this year, which is about five pounds down from where I'm at currently. So far this year, I've attended one or two yoga classes, and not done anything else remotely resembling exercise. It is an important goal to me, but not one I'm putting the energy toward quite yet.

When I commit to doing something for someone else, the same rules apply. I keep secrets, I follow-through, and I show up when I say I will. When I commit, I keep those promises.

When I commit to a partner, I'm there. Body, mind, heart, soul - all that. A relationship commitment means that you are important to me and if I don't show you that every day, then I am failing. A relationship commitment is a commitment to meet your partner's needs, to constantly aim for growth, and to strive to make them happy - not just a commitment to keep your hands to yourself.

Thinking back over my dating experiences, I can see where my definition of commitment has varied from that of the men I've dated. I had one man who, after two dates with me, sent a text message to ask if I was interested in a relationship with him. To discuss commitment in such a casual way indicates that he has a different definition there than I do. I had another gentleman friend who tried to woo me with gifts - including a large tv - but wasn't committed to meeting my need for open, honest conversation. I therefore chose not to commit to him. Yet another suitor indicated a desire for a relationship with me, but sent all my calls to voicemail until he was in bed for the evening, because he wasn't ready to truly commit and tell his friends and roommates he was seeing someone.

Commitment. It's something to be done loudly and proudly. Commitment is an honorable thing. It's also important to make sure you know how your definition of commitment relates to that of your conversation partner. As my wise daddy always told me, "Agreements prevent disagreements."


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