31/01/2014 07:10 GMT | Updated 01/04/2014 06:59 BST

On Commitment

According to the Oxford dictionary, "commit" is a verb meaning (1) perpetrate or carry out, or (2) to pledge or bind (a person or organization) to a certain course or policy.


There are numerous ways in which we can use this word. We commit thoughts to paper, a person to an institution, ourselves to a romantic partner, or to various tasks, obligations or responsibilities. We can even commit someone to an institution if their mental function is impaired.


We count on the commitments that businesses or other people make to us. We feel let down, betrayed or disappointed when those commitments are not honoured. And many of us would move heaven and earth not to do that to anyone.


But what about those times when Things Change? What about those times when facts are revealed that you were not shown when you made the commitment and suddenly, you see that you and the other person are traveling in opposite directions? What about those times when you realise that to honour your commitment to someone else means you must dishonour yourself?


To my mind, there is never a reason to do that.


If you do not honour yourself, you teach others to dishonour you, too. And you teach them to dishonour themselves. What good can possibly come from people being disrespectful of themselves and others? Absolutely none.


I take my commitments seriously. It's true that I have been impulsive at times or I've made decisions based on either head or heart rather than a balanced blend of both, and they've backfired.

Sometimes I've made huge commitments for the right reasons and with the best of intentions but with a very wrong foundation that I just didn't - or couldn't - or wouldn't - see, and it has become crystal clear that continuing to honour the commitment would have been to dishonour myself. That's a path I will never walk again.


Backing out of a commitment never feels good. But treating myself in a disrespectful manner feels far worse. For decades, I did not know self-respect or self-worth. I did not know how to honour myself. No one had taught me those. In fact, I had been taught quite the opposite. I have had to fight my way out of a self-destructive hole, ultimately finding my way to the light of self-love. Standing in that light, I cannot and will not disrespect myself in an attempt to respect someone else.


It is out of self-respect and self-love that I make my commitments, with every intention to follow them through to the end. This is how all of us should make our commitments.


But sometimes circumstances change. And sometimes the person on the other side of a commitment can change, too, or facts are revealed that you did not have at the outset, and you realise that this is not at all what you believed it to be.  Should you honour your commitment in these instances?


Only if you are still honouring yourself, too.

I welcome your comments below.

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