The idea of commitment can generate a wide variety of emotions. It can feel scary like it’s a big undertaking, an obligation that you can’t bail on. On the flip side it can feel so good to hold on and be secure. It can offer that sense of safety you always longed for.
When I think about commitment, lots of words and images come to mind. I see a wedding dress, I see an old couple holding hands after a lifetime together. I think of words like forever, loyal, genuine and true. When there is a commitment to another human being, there comes a sense of knowing. Where looks can replace words and body language says everything. You’re with your match.
Awhile back I was sharing with another person how much I longed for a committed relationship and how desperately I wanted to find my match. I talked about the feelings that I expected to come with it and the sense of peace of knowing someone will always have my back. I imagined that same person will have hold of my heart in a way that no one else does. I trust they’ll be gentle with it, knowing it had some breaks before they came along.
As the conversation was coming to a close and I wrapped up my thoughts on commitment and how powerful it was, I heard her say, “Yes, commitment to self is so powerful.” I stared at her, knowing that I had not talked about commitment to myself but rather to another person. While the urge to correct her came quickly, something else came faster. The realization that she knew something I did not. There would be no commitment with another if I didn’t commit to myself first. Who would invest in me, a person who was not even fully invested in herself? It’s like walking around with a foreclosure sign around my neck, advertising I couldn’t make it, I didn’t have what I needed to see it all the way through. In a sense, I needed to take full ownership of myself if I expected someone to commit and invest in a relationship with me.
Owning certain parts of me is rather daunting. While there are a lot of things I like about myself, I have learned to disown some of the darker parts. Some parts of me I have refused to own because society says they are not ok, like my weird, curly hair and the extra weight I carry around my middle. The other parts, well they are just hard to face. I have a “victim” living inside of me that whines about not catching a break and having it as easy as other people. It turns out I also have a “messiah,” that sometimes thinks I can’t walk away from jobs and people because there is no way they can manage without me, I’m just that good. If you’re laughing right now, it’s ok, I am too. I know it is ridiculous, but it is no less true. I won’t go into the other dark parts of me, just trust that they are there. Instead I will tell you what I know. For every dark shadow, there is light. I will find it and balance out the darkness. To put it another way, I’m gonna let it all hang out. I’m going to invest in me. I will wear the curls God gave me and embrace the volume my hair has that others only dream of. I’ll continue to nurture my body with the foods I love and know that I am healthy and this is the body that has carried me through everything. It has never failed me. In fact, it’s the kind of commitment I’ve been looking for all along. There it is again, that message, that for all the things I am seeking outside of me, I am most likely to find them within.
I will commit to me, reminding myself that I am a combination of good and bad, light and dark. We all are.