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THE OPEN HAVERSACK: Fear of commitment

Rhonda Blackman

THE OPEN HAVERSACK: Fear of commitment

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The word commitment seems to be missing from a large contingent of individuals’ vocabulary these days. In order for people to know how to commit, they first need to understand what it means to be committed. In fact, I am bemused because many do not understand its meaning. Commitment carries numerous meanings but, for this article, it will be defined as making something strong and healthy.
As individuals we have to exhibit some form of commitment in relationships that have been developed. These relationships can be within families, work or with partners. However, so many people are fearful of total commitment. Say the word commitment and some relationships come to a halt; people start thinking and others get cold feet.
Take note, the level of commitment is a personal choice which is affected by factors such as personality, emotional stability, maturity, as well as lifestyle, needs and thinking processes. People should never feel like they are being forced or coerced into being committed – it should be done freely.
Too often one enters work environments and sees a vast number of workers, many of them government employees, who seem to be sleepwalking their way through their jobs. Where is the level of commitment that should be exhibited on the job? Commitment is one of the critical factors in building an effective teamwork environment on the job as well as increasing productivity. The time has come to wake up the sleepwalkers and resend them to their rightful place of slumber.
Like work environments, personal relationships have some sleepwalkers also – people who are fearful of committing. As human beings we are ever changing and our relationships are dynamic and changing also. Therefore sometimes it is difficult finding partners who share your level of commitment.
If one wants a stable and long-lasting relationship, then it is fundamental to make a strong commitment to your partner. If there is true love between two people in a relationship, then there will be no need to be afraid to love completely, having trust and showing commitment. This will enable you to nurture growth individually as well as mutually. When you commit, it helps you become resilient during the down times and disappointments, and it helps you sustain whatever you are committed to despite tough times while at the same time respecting freedom and each other’s individuality.
Remember that commitment is expressed through open dialogue, through the sharing of your thoughts and experiences. Therefore it is imperative to establish basic understandings and realise that they change over time, as experience is accrued.
It takes a disciplined mind to focus on what the heart wants and to walk toward it. At the end, keep your perspective and be realistic – not idealistic – with how the relationship evolves. You need to be more flexible than ever to be able to fit into this ever-changing world and to be able to truly commit to something of value to you. At the end, when you commit to something, the feeling should be rewarding and nurturing.
• Rhonda Blackman is an educator, a reviewer with the British Research Educational Journal and a member of the American Education Research Association.