Community//

Why your commitments are getting you down.

Without really thinking about it, there are certain implications to the language we use, and commitment, especially, is often paired with "obligation." So, what if you changed the way you spoke about your commitments? Read on to learn how.

Image by Daniel Apodaca on Unplash.

I find the word “commitment” is laced with obligation.

“I can’t – I made a commitment to do something else.”

“I am committed, so there’s no going back now.”

“We are in a committed relationship.”

“I am commitment-phobic.”

“I don’t want to make a committment.”

“He committed a crime.”

And it’s no surprise. The root of the word in Latin, commitere, means “to give in charge” and has eventually evolved to mean “entrust (oneself) completely to;” and “put or bring into danger by an irrevocable preliminary act.”

I’m not saying commitments IMPLY obligation, but I am saying that when most people use the word, what I actually hear is “I don’t have a choice – I am burdened by this agreement I made.”

There is an inherent lack of sovereignty and an implied resignation in the modern use of the word. Like to commit means to give up our own internal sense of freedom.

And yet very little comes from things to which we DO NOT commit ourselves. The whole notion of “practice makes permanent” is not a coincidence, but rather, a fairly accurate conclusion of a moral AND scientific investigation on whether lasting change comes from anything other than full commitment (practice).

And in most cases, it doesn’t.

This is why some people expect transformation in a weekend workshop and what they end up with is a short-lived revival unless they commit to practice everything that opened for them, until it’s integrated (made into habit, aka: a new neural pathway in the brain).

What if you replaced the word “commitment” with “devotion” (to be self-dedicated to a cause or practice) – how would that change your relationship to your commitments (or lack thereof)?

When we think of our lives as a devotional practice, it becomes quite palpable to see what we are practicing with that devotion, whether it’s resignation, or true surrender.

In short, this is the difference between “I have to” and “I get to.”

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.