What with all the recent social dubiousness about the very concept of commitment– e.g. “does marriage necessarily imply commitment, or is it a withering institution”?-it has made this term rather loaded, and consequently misunderstood, I feel.
While we generally do associate commitment with parental ties, love relationships and professional/monetary/contractual bonds, the tentacles of commitment spread much wider than we think…
In fact, it was a point that transpired in a recent conversation with my fiance (yes, drum roll please, I am engaged to be married, hurrah!) that made me commit to the idea of writing and keeping a blog and hitherto a website (i.e. you can now see all my articles, academic work and poetry on this site too)!
I find that I open up more easily through my writing, rather than via facial expressions, especially when it comes to unleashing deeper feelings of love, anger and bafflement which is when people sometimes read me in the most erroneous of interpretations!
My supposed ‘neutrality’ is misconstrued to be standoffish, uninterested- when I’m actually thinking the opposite,-but my face is slow to catch up in such emotional moments as my mind is too busy processing the situation…sound familiar to you, by any chance?
So, if I am not interested in something, I will simply say so- and of course be very expressive about it, rest assured.
Equally, if something/someone/some issue is picked up by my interest radar, then I will do things to show that I care. I believe actions evoke a more truer sign of commitment than words could ever do.
Yet, alas, it is this very belief that isn’t always taken well, I find. Sigh…
Let’s take a look at a few examples from the zillions available (please feel free to add your own examples in your comments):-
1. Let’s start with George Osborne, UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his recent budgetary decision to cut 1 pence from our fuel prices. Yes, it is such a lousy, lackadaisical way of telling us how much he and his government is really committed to our welfare, doesn’t it? [Cue for cynical grunting] The levels of commitment are expressed in hollow, run-off-the-mill, minuscule promises and OTT speeches, rather than in more effective and decisive actions!
2. My next example is based on a completely different context. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Committed: A Sceptic Makes Peace With Marriage (Bloomsbury, 2o10) is the sequel to her bestselling Eat Pray Love (Bloomsbury, 2007). Gilbert’s Committed is a tome completely devoted on the discourse of the sociological, anthropological, biological, cultural and psychological ramifications of marriage. Here, her very words are actions themselves which evoke her commitment on the subject of becoming and being, erm, in want of a better word, committed!
3. Are we committed to our work infinitely more than we are committed to ourselves and our personal/family lives? The BBC recently broadcast a two-part documentary, called Britain At Work (March-April, 2011) which suggested that this is the very situation, particularly since post-1995 and the technological advancements that have come with changing our work dynamics.
So, to be truly committed to something/someone is to be truly passionate and impassioned in something/someone. It is such thoughts and feelings- the units of passion, if you will- which makes us push boundaries, take risks and leaps of faith, to make changes and new discoveries- all these steps symbolise how committed we really are to something/someone.
There’s an old adage, isn’t there: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Let’s rephrase this a bit and say “As you care, so you shall commit!”