Commitment – is it a myth, or is it just rare?

We’ve all been part of, or witnesses to, this conversation. We are in a relationship and it’s going well, but we are contemplating putting an end to it, because the other person “just won’t commit”. We go on and on about everything we have invested in this endeavour, how we have spent time, energy, effort and emotions on this person, but at the end of the day “what’s the point of going on if we don’t know where it’s all going”. Why try and stay in there, if we don’t have any guarantees that they just won’t up and leave some day. And it’s not just relationships that face this spell of doubt from time to time. We apply this way of thinking to almost any aspect of our lives. Why go to gym every day, when it’s almost impossible to get into shape? Why save up, when the taxman or inflation will take it all away? Why work hard, when no one knows who that promotion will go to? Why commit to anything, when we know it can be lost in a blink of an eye? But on the other hand, we want commitment. We expect it. And it’s the job of those closest to us to deliver it.

The more I think about it though, the more I realize – we don’t control what others do or want or aspire to. We can’t demand something from another, if they are not willing to surrender it freely. We can’t expect or get attached to future outcomes. The future does not exist. What exists is the present. And the only thing we can control, is ourselves. Extracting a promise of ‘forever’ might sound appealing and comforting now, but ‘forever’ is a myth, a chimera for those who sit and wait for things to happen to them instead of making it happen for them. So we demand promises for the future, we expect the person next to us to bend at our will and construct their life upon the blueprint of ours, and inevitably, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

Commitment however, is not a myth. It’s just not something we can find out there. Because it can only exist within. It’s about having a clear vision of who we are, our values, principles, character, and acting out of them consistently and without compromise. It’s about having a vision for our future, and who and where we want to be. And committing to make improvements and take action every day to make that future happen. In love, it’s about being the best partner you can be and, without sacrificing your integrity or your own happiness, to bring light, peace and joy to the one you love. It’s about committing, every day, one day at the time, to give your best, to be your best, given what life you want to live and what kind of a person you aspire to be. Today. Relationships that last a lifetime were not built on a once-off promise or vow. They last a lifetime made up of one day at the time after the other. The commitment, made every morning, that today I will love you and no one else, that today I will be faithful, that today I’m by your side in sickness and in health… And that’s how days turn into months, and months turn into years, the years into a lifetime.

My partner and I have a little ritual. Every morning we say to each other “Happy so-many-months-and-days together, my love. Today I love you, today I’m yours”. We congratulate ourselves for having made it so far and we promise ourselves to each other, today. And for that day, we are as committed as two people can be.

So don’t wait for promises and assurances. Nothing is certain in life, everything changes. Decide what you are committed to and pursue it. Passionately, relentlessly and with burning desire not to get it all but to give it all. You might not always get what you wanted or hoped for, but at least, looking back at it one day, you will be able to say “I gave it all I had and I made the best of it”.

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If not now, when?

Here’s a little follow-on of my previous article on dreams and expectations. This time, it’s dedicated to waiting. Waiting as a rule.

For most of us, there’s some odd, yet familiar proclivity to always postpone things. When we want something, we often tend to delay actions in time instead of just doing what’s necessary to get it. In general, we prefer waiting to acting. Because it’s easier. And there’s this morbid “when” attitude in everything we do: “When” I get a better job, I will take the time to do what I want. “When” I retire, I will have the time for my hobby. “When” winter’s over, I’m hitting gym again. “When” I finish this urgent project and I’m calm again, I’ll stop smoking. “When” I have more money, I will travel more. Well, the last one obviously requires some financial resources, but you got my point. It’s always this “when I finish this, I’ll have that” structure. We spend all of our lives waiting. But waiting for what? Basically for this or that event, that particular milestone, which (as we expect) would change the course of our lives and set us free. But guess what? This might never happen. You’re waiting for a train, which might never come and you’re left waiting at the train station caught between yesterday and tomorrow, wondering why today seems wrong.

Maybe it’s out of fear that our plans might never see the light of day. Maybe it’s this uncertainty we hold on to for some reason, convincing us that now it’s not the time. Not the right time, not the right place, ever. And what we do is, cling to the memories of the past, hoping for a better future, forgetting that from we stand now, they both are irrelevant. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow might never come. All we have is now, that current moment we tend to constantly underestimate and neglect. We spend this moment, making plans for the future, but what if there’s no future? Who knows what happens next? And what makes you think everything will work out as you planned it? Why stick to that “one fine day” concept, when you’ll finally have the time and means to travel, grow vegetables, carve wood, or attend dance classes? Who could guarantee you that after that particular preset period you’ll be able to make all this happen? No one.

And as a matter of fact, constantly living in the illusion of tomorrow destroys our present. This vacillation between a long gone past and the non-existing future nourishes our indecisiveness and unwillingness to act. To act now. And we let ourselves believe that later on our time will come. But living in our world of obscure plans brings dissatisfaction on a deeper level. In times of privacy, when we are all alone, we feel that inner discontentment, often without even being aware of the reasons. It’s like something just doesn’t feel right. And it can’t be any other way – your soul’s unsatisfied. She wants more of you.

Technically speaking, we spend most of our days at work, dealing with our daily routine. So busy and running around the clock. But deep inside, we are unhappy. Unhappy to wait, unhappy to put up with all the things we dislike, just for the sake of a dream planned for some distant future moment. And yet, we manage to find all the excuses. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the money. We don’t have the opportunity. So we put all those wishes of the soul on the back burner for some better time. But is all this waiting any good? What if you were not meant to be an accountant, for example, but an artist or a musician, or a writer? What if this was your initial design, your genuine vocation? Your soul knows that and she’s speaking to you, but nobody would listen.

And tell me this, if not now, when? And if not you, who? Who else would make your dreams come true? Who else could give your soul what she needs? Who else could put that effort? Nobody. Because it’s all up to you. And it’s all now. So forget about the incessant plans for tomorrow, for Monday, next month, next year, 10 years from now. Change this disrupting attitude once and for all and act now. Do something nice for yourself. Forget about all that waiting and act now. Because, you know what? You’ll always be busy. You’ll always be too tired. You’ll always need more money to fulfill your plans. And that moment you were waiting for, it doesn’t even exist. So don’t look for excuses, because you’ll find them. Don’t let your reasoning mind stop you. Don’t listen. Now is the time. Today is the day. Do something. Meet new people. Laugh more. Read a book. Write a song. Draw something. Meditate. Go out. Take a walk. Feel the energy of nature recharging you. Do something nice for your health. Treat your body. Eat fruit and vegetables. Take the stairs. Hit the gym. Go see that movie. Ask that girl on a date. Live now. Live today. Not tomorrow, not next month. Today. Just take the time and do this. Take thirty minutes or an hour for yourself a day and soon enough you’ll feel the difference. You surely deserve it and your soul will be grateful.