Have you ever felt the paralyzing anxiety of committing to something? The fear that comes with thinking if you don’t commit, it means you are weak, flighty, or otherwise incapable?
The word ‘commitment’ can conjure up childhood anxiety. An expectation that you need to be committed to a course of action, a relationship, a choice, often without any experience or information about what that commitment really means. You are paralyzed by the idea that if you get into something because you are curious, it means carrying it through to ‘the end’. The end, completion, is offered as the only way to pursue a desire to be curious and learn more.
I bought into this concept and dutifully ‘committed’. I believed it was the only path to success because it was what I saw modelled by the world around me. It was an inescapable personal sacrifice that meant being locked in, no matter my feelings, as I fell deeper into my commitment. It was a revocation of my freedom. It was a jail that confined me. But I was committed to success and achieving my dreams, and I was going to show the world that I could stick it out.
Many women feel this anxiety around commitment. It becomes heavy, serious, and something by which we are measured. When we choose not to commit, we are labeled flaky, space cadets, frivolous, or weak. We may feel inferior and incapable, all wrapped up in a ‘not-enough bow’. ‘Commitment’ has been used to control expression and expansive thinking, and has been hijacked by fear and self doubt. Commitment, in its popular interpretation, becomes a way to judge people and to judge ourselves. We are scared that it is the measure of our worth. We believe if we are not committed at the beginning, that we who won’t achieve, won’t accomplish, and won’t make it in life. Commitment is used to bully us into conformity.
Commitment is overrated. There can be a massive downfall by committing in this way.
A commitment made from the midst of unworthiness and fear results in feeling even more unworthy and fearful. We make rash decisions on important things. We feel trapped and anxious. We feel we may be missing out on the real joy of life. We feel unfulfilled, bored, and stuck in monotony. These feelings can push us towards command and control. When we commit to something and find ourselves unhappy and disengaged, instead of calling it off or finding a new way, we try to control it into being something it’s not. We invest energy, emotion, and time in trying to change what is essentially, uncontrollable. The other piece, which is especially damaging for women, is that when we take action from a foundation of unworthiness and fear, we dismiss our intuitive superpowers. We negate our feelings and our knowing. We diminish our creative potential, and we place ourselves in the resentment offered by victimhood.
But…what if we shifted our perspective?
What if we played in the land of exploration and wonder?
What might become possible for each of us?
The idea of exploration creates scenes of wonder and discovery; potential, waiting to be unearthed and taken into our creative minds to be unwrapped and experienced. Exploration allows us to gather information, to test ideas, to experience what moving in a certain direction might feel and look like. Exploration is an open learning opportunity. Inherent in exploration is growth. We cannot come out of exploration without bringing something new and exciting with us. Exploration means exponential potential for creation. All that has ever been discovered – all science, all spiritual awakening, all fun and adventure, all pleasure – has sprouted from the state of being in exploration. Exploration allows us to welcome back the truth of who we are; the creative beings who trust our intuitive nature, who are willing to follow a feeling, and who thrive on our curiosity to lead us forward, and our knowingness to keep us on track.
Exploration and discovery create the authentic space for deep commitment to develop.
I invite you to commit to exploration. Commit to exploring life from the space of the extraordinary discovery waiting around the next corner. Commit to exploring the feelings and sensations in your body. Commit to exploring the sounds of music and nature. Commit to exploring what might be discovered when you take a left instead of a right. Commit to exploring the relationship, one day and one conversation at a time. Commit to exploring the different facets of who you are, what you desire, and how you interact with life.
From this state of wonder, breathe in the energy of exploration and imagine the possibilities that might emerge when you see your life through the eyes of an explorer. What will you explore next?