Monthly Column by Jennifer Rogers©1998
Commitment is a word that for some signifies, security, satisfaction, conformity and an overall good feeling. It could mean the search is over and a commitment has been made towards achieving common goals. To others, the word commitment sends chills up their spine. It signifies, entrapment, lack of freedom, end of the fun life.
Sometimes, it is amusing to stand back and see how people function, what makes them tick. They date for awhile searching for the "right" person to come into their lives. Everything is going on smoothly until it's time to make some sort of commitment. What will it be, where does the relationship go from there? As soon as that question is raised, the panic sets in. "Oh my, this means I might have to promise this person that I'm going to be faithful." "That I'm not going to check out other fields to see if the grass is indeed greener." "I'm perfectly happy with this person, but the idea of permanence suffocates me."
Why is it that even though a couple is perfectly happy and they are not having any significant problems the idea of commitment scares them into reacting like caged animals?
Humans have been known to thrive naturally by taking on a partner from the beginning of time. It has been proven time and time again that we normally do better with others than alone. Loneliness leads to depression and other related illnesses. Yet people in this day and age still would rather stay away from commitment rather than work as a team. Why is that?
My personal opinion is that we have too many choices. Our lives have become recyclable. It is great to recycle for the environment, but people should not be considered recyclable items. If something is broken in a relationship or not functioning properly, we should do everything possible to try to fix it. Not just dispose of it like an old milk carton. When a relationship is discarded, it is not just the couple that suffer the consequences, but all those around them. There are a lot of innocent bystanders that might get hurt in the process. If there are children involved in the equation - whether they are the direct result of the relationship or brought into it from previous partnerships - they still suffer the aftereffect. The children are the ones that get uprooted and their secured world once again torn apart. Children learn by example, if they see relations being tossed like old newspapers, they learn that nobody holds great importance in this world. Everyone is dispensable. People's well being and happiness is not important. That leads to an overall attitude in our societies of "live for today." To take what's important to you and have a complete disregard for others.
I have touched upon some of the negatives that lack of commitment can bring into our lives. Let's take a look and see how we might work things out in a positive manner. First of all, we have to be true to ourselves. We have to establish what it is we're looking for before we set out to find it. Are we happy to be alone in life at this point or are we ready for a relationship? Remember, if you're not ready to settle down and you want your freedom, that's okay. Make sure you convey this message to the person you go out with. It is nice if you give them a choice, find out where they are in their lives. There is no reason that you cannot date and make new and lasting friendships as long as everybody knows where the other stands. Do not give mixed signals. It isn't fair to them or to you in the long run. If you keep dating this person and had different goals for your lifestyle from the beginning, this is headed for trouble. Be clear and honest with your intentions (specially with yourself). If you don't know where you're going and you are out there testing the waters, than communicate this to the person. Let them make the choice of being there without any false hopes or expectations. If all goes well and the "like" you felt develops into the "love", the transition will be a lot smoother if there has been open communication along the way.
Let the other person know how you feel. Don't expect that they can read your mind. They say we are all psychic. Unfortunately, some are less developed in this field than others. Therefore verbal communication is needed to make things a lot clearer. In order to communicate effectively, we ourselves have to know what it is we want and be able to express it. Expressing our thoughts openly without the fear of being judged by our partners.
This brings us to the positive powers of a committed relationship. By this time you have dated, you like each other, you have discovered you have tons of things in common. You know you love this person. They have communicated not only their words, but their actions, that they also love you. Above all, you are "In Love" with each other. You cannot think of going through life without this person in it.
At this point commitment comes in. This does not necessary mean you have to rush out and get married, or make a legal binding contract on paper in front of man, God and Goddess. Its a commitment in your hearts that you will be there to love and support each other whether, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and/or if need be, financially. To stand by their side and aid their lives to be positive and fruitful and knowing they will do the same for you. Being a part of the closest knit team you could ever imagine. Sharing the struggles and the rewards. There will come challenges to either side from time to time, and you have to be willing to be the spotter when the other is jumping, to make sure you will be there if they stumble.
If you're working on this type of commitment the rewards are immeasurable. The feeling of satisfaction in your life becomes overwhelmingly amplified. You reach an inner peace that comes from two whole beings joining together to become one.
Life is not a fairy tale. There is too many variables that come into play. Sometimes we encounter people without the best intentions for our well being and happiness. But when you have a committed relationship you stand a lot stronger against these assaults. There has always been power in numbers and the family support has always been important.
When a couple is united, there are others that become part of that nucleus. Children in the household have a strong foundation of security. They will than stand by the parents and become part of that strength backing up the adults with respect and their own special support. This filters to the couples friends and the rest of the family. Bringing forth a sense of unity and strength.
Commitment is not a word that should trigger fear but hope. We should all be firmly committed to make a better life for ourselves and others. Committed to give love unconditionally. Don't back off from your principals. Speak freely of what it is you expect out of life and one another. I firmly believe that if you want something bad enough and you work toward your goals, the Universe will see to it that you get it. Don't back out when things get rough, fight and you will conquer. After the battle is over, you can rejoice in the glow that the unity of your committed love brings you.
Till next time, committed to you, the readers.