When I first discovered this quote in June of last year, I was fascinated by the way Sherr redefines a word that I was unaware required clarification. He reveals that without realizing it, many of us have adopted notions of commitment as something temporary. We might make commitments to others out of a sense of obligation, or to ourselves in an attempt at self-betterment, but so often we adopt these ‘commitments’ with a mental asterisk denoting the passive mindset that will eventually result in failure: “I’ll see how this goes, maybe it will work for me”. The commitment is always maintained for as long as it remains convenient or success appears certain, but what follows?
It’s common to speculate on why divorce has become so popular, affecting over 40% of all marriages in the United States, but rarely do we consider that our relationship woes may be the result of a societal misinterpretation of the word “commitment”. Relationships revolve around commitment. Whether that means picking a friend up from the airport or taking the kids to the park while your spouse works on the lawn, our personal lives are defined by the commitments that we choose to make and uphold. Abandoning the promises or assurances made to others reveals our priorities, and relationships are certain to deteriorate as priorities shift and “commitments” are broken.
Sherr rejects our adaptation of the word “commitment” to something that can be broken or abandoned. He suggests that commitment leaves no room for alternatives. Breaking a “commitment” only demonstrates that we were never really committed at all.
The new year is still fresh, and those resolutions aren’t going to fulfill themselves. Acknowledging Arnie Sherr’s single, total degree of commitment means becoming more conscious of the commitments we make and determining whether or not they warrant the unwavering dedication and devotion of a true commitment.. We will always have obligations and responsibilities that must be fulfilled, but the commitments that we make to ourselves and others ought to have an equal, perhaps greater, importance.
If commitment is something you struggle with, you’re not alone! Check out this empowering post from Adam York.