Committing to committing, or not

I used to be scared of the word commitment. It felt like a cage, so trapping and final. Lately, I’ve come to realise that the act of committing to something is actually a huge enabler of freedom and allows for less stress.

Not committing to something is usually about avoiding making a decision. By not choosing or committing to anything, we think we save ourselves from suffering. However, it seems like the exact opposite happens and we end up getting stuck and feeling lost.

Trying to control the outcomes of the decisions we make causes a lot of anxiety. Figuring out what our choices will lead to is overwhelming. It’s hard to commit to an unknown future, and that’s really what we’re doing.

Here’s the thing — the future will always be unknown because we’re not there yet. Trying to control it by not making a choice keeps us stuck in non-committal limbo-land. This is the place of stress.

Decisions that seemed stressful until I committed to doing them include buying a house, having a wedding, quitting a job or two. All these seemed like big commitments to get right, things you can’t go back on. But I know people who have changed their house, their partner and their job. They might have committed to one thing at one time, but they weren’t fixed in the cage that no longer served them.

What if we don’t know what’s right for us until we commit to and take action? What if committing would allow us to suffer less because we would waste less headspace thinking about something?

Sometimes committing to saying no is harder than saying yes. Saying no to a job or a person you know won’t make you happy is making a commitment to future you but can feel hard for current you to do. The future becomes more certain when we commit to what we really want and who we want to be.

I feel like commitment is still an experiment for me. It doesn’t feel as final as I used to believe. Committing feels less like a cage and more like a climbing frame to explore.

What would you commit to for the wellbeing of future you? What if your commitment to yourself was to have a wonderful life?

This post is part of a series of atomic essays on Twitter for #Ship30for30




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