Everyone has things that they don’t like. It probably goes further than not liking. You could go as far as saying that everyone has things that they relate to as a pile of buttnuggets. Basically the worst.
Like commitment. Or intimacy. Or being late. Or budgeting. Or dieting. Or exercise. (Are you getting the picture here? There’s something on this list for everyone).
For some things, you’ve got an empowered relationship. People that find themselves into careers like Navy Seals and lawyers often have an empowered relationship to discipline and hard work. People that find themselves into careers like nursing and elder care often have an empowered relationship to selflessness and giving to others without the expectation of it being reciprocated.
For other things you’ve got a disempowered relationship. Those Navy Seals and lawyers, likely also have a disempowered relationship with things like emotions and living heart-open. The nurses and people taking care of our elders might have a disempowered relationship to things like their own wants and desires, and being a demand to getting their own needs met.
Your relationship to any particular thing is determinative. Until you’ve got it distinguished (out in the open, with the light of day shining on it), it owns you.
So, if you’ve got a story that Commitment is bad, tedious, boring, forces you into a box, and takes away your options, you’re going to:
- Avoid commitment
- Say yes to opportunities that don’t require you to commit, and no ones that do require you to commit
- Find yourself in careers that reward staying open, and preventing doors from being closed
- End up in relationships that don’t require your commitment (including being drawn to things like polyamory)
All of these things are manifested on the surface of your life, and so we don’t recognize the life we have as a symptom of our underlying relationship. Instead, we tend to justify and rationalize our decisions from inside the relationship itself. That means that instead of saying “Ohhhhh, I don’t end up in committed relationships because I have a underlying story about how commitment is”, you’re more likely to say “Ohhhhh, I don’t end up in committed relationships because commitment closes options and makes you boring — I want freedom and to keep my options open”.
When you have a disempowered relationship to something, you’re going to avoid it. Here’s the other thing you’ll do — you’ll prove your relationship right.
If we keep talking about commitment, you’re going to do all of those things above, but eventually you’ll conclude that there are some things you want in life that simply can’t be arrived at unless you’re willing to commit.
And so commit you will, and you’ll do so in a way that proves all of these crappy truths about commitment. You’ll experience boredom in it. When things get challenging, you’ll choose your commitment in a way that leaves you feeling forced into a box, instead of finding a way to relate to it that leaves you feeling freed. When you’re confronted by your commitment, you’ll put your attention on all of the options it’s taking away from you (as opposed to putting your attention on everything it’s providing you).
Our relationship to something is determinative.
Here’s the cool thing: your relationship to something is made up.
There’s no universal, objective truth that commitment is the way you say it is, or that people that have discipline are the way your relationship tells you they are. People with money aren’t all “that way”. (Notwithstanding this, you’ll have a ton of evidence you can point to, to prove that people that do X really are this way — this is just your relationship to something reasserting itself).
Rather than having your relationship to something own you, and figuring out better and more contrived ways to get what you want while avoiding the thing you are disempowered around, the real breakthrough comes in tackling the relationship itself.
What if you could rearrange how you relate to commitment (or discipline, or love, or feelings, or…)? That would shift the entire building blocks that your life has been built on.
That’s where the breakthrough lies.