When did we become so afraid of the C-word? No, not cancer, credit check or…even the dreaded cash only. I mean the C-word that everyone knows, but no one likes to be reminded of or held accountable to. I’m talking about commitment. It’s nearly been obliterated from our culture’s vernacular and all it takes is a glance at our daily lives for the proof.
Generations ago, back when humans still interacted face-to-face, a bond could be formed through simple spoken word. People talked, agreed, and carried through. No matter the difficulty or inconvenience, to uphold a promise made to another person was considered an act of love, service and respect. Today, perhaps because we’ve inverted the meaning of these words to include “ourselves” at the end, we’ve strayed remarkably far from being able to enjoy our relationships in the rich context we were meant to.
How has this happened? Easy. We love another C-word: control. A by-product of the consumerist culture we are enveloped in, we have been bought, taught and swindled by a message that says we can and should control our worlds. In the mood for something? We can get it, instantly. Changed our minds about something? We can sell it, instantly. Want to feel involved in the lives of others, without actually having to initiate anything on our part at all? We can check our social networks, instantly.
Everything from buying a pair of shoes, to going to a party, to walking down the aisle, revolves around our comfort and convenience (two other C-words we love) which leaves our relationships in a critical condition because we bail on them the second we are placed out of ease. We act as though there has been a cosmic decree that states we are entitled to life working out exactly the way we expect it to with minimal effort on our part, and maximum effort on behalf of everyone else. Yet, where is this philosophy realistically demonstrated in the world around us?
Consider what we behold to be beautiful, miraculous, and courage-giving: the majesty of the Taj Mahal, a baby birthed from the womb of its mother, or the tenacity of Rosa Parks. Don’t our souls rejoice the utmost with these lessons of personal sacrifice, hard patience, and unyielding dedication? Commitment is the thread that binds these displays together, as none would be possible without it. Why do we then think our relationships–which few would argue are the cornerstones of our lives–should be lacking in similar ingredients?
Do we really want paper-thin, mediocre acquaintances that are tossed aside by the smallest of problems? Or does the love that speaks to the core of our being plunge much deeper and weather even the harshest of storms in our lives? Commitment is the anchor that keeps us afloat when we feel the pull to drown; enabling us to go beyond what naturally we would be comfortable with to brave newer and greater heights, to hold us to something bigger than just our own self-interest, and to carve in our hearts a new C-word to replace the fear: courage.