Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Can you say the C word?

Commitment: Heaven or Hell?
Its a word that brings conversation to a halt, makes people uncomfortable and can be very upsetting.

I'm talking about the biggest C word of all - Commitment.

People get scared of commitment because they believe it means being tied down, but true commitment is actually the key to freedom. 

Simply put, commitment means becoming emotionally engaged.  It takes effort, it takes courage and it certainly takes practice - but the long term benefits far outweigh the short term discomfort of learning something new.

And Commitment gets your life out of the doldrums.

The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.

If the idea of commitment fills you with dread, then its likely you're  trying to run before you can walk.  Let's  break the process down into manageable chunks. 

Commitment is an art and a practice and has several levels. 

Level 1: Its all about you!

You can't solve any problem if you're overwhelmed or lack confidence, so the first level of commitment needs to be to yourself. 

Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act, it's a sign of leadership.  It is a clear communication that you are ready to lead your life rather than have life lead you by the nose.  If you feel like your spinning too many plates or that you are constantly firefighting - its a sign that you've let life run away with you by putting everyone's needs ahead of your own.

The guiding principle here is:  I am worthy of self-compassion.

There are lots of resources out there to help strengthen the commitment to yourself (including inspiring and helpful video and book pages on this blog) It's also why I created the Family@Heart course; it taps right into this level and opens the door to a whole new way of living.

Level 2: Honest Communication
You're the common denominator in all areas of your life.  Whether its family, friends, work, health or finances, how you feel about yourself will dictate how successful you feel about life, and how well you enjoy it.

As your confidence and self-worth improves the next level of commitment is to living your life wholeheartedly.  You may begin to recognise behaviours and patterns in yourself or your relationships that are not helpful and the skills you develop as you commit to your own well-being will help you communicate more honestly about them.  The guiding principle here: Its important to me that I am authentic with you.
Level 3: Partnership
Partnership means creating a relationship based on equality. Most of us were not fortunate to experience a healthy model of partnership growing up and have very little to work with when it comes to creating it in our relationships.   Unhappy relationships are built on foundations of competition and inequality so the guiding principle here is: your success and happiness is as important to me as my own.

Partnership refuses to use the real dirty c-word in relationship - compromise.  With compromise everyone loses, commitment at this level makes resolution the goal - an outcome that everyone is happy with.  It may take longer, it may be difficult at times but this is what true commitment means: the process of mutual understanding, forgiveness and acceptance no matter how many conversations, or how difficult they may be.

The paradox is that when you get to this level you might discover some relationships are over, but the decision to move on is reached through love and understanding rather with blame and guilt - and the fall-out is far less damaging to all involved.

Marriage, parenting, caring for elderly parents, running a business: all require high levels of emotional maturity in order to create successful partnership. You can't get to level 3 without working on yourself, but the moment you start taking care of yourself commitment changes from being something that strikes fear in your heart to a way of opening up to a wholehearted life.

Ready to get started? Sign up for the next Family@Heart course in May.  
Make the commitment to yourself first here

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