Let me be frank here, making commitments (in most cases) is pretty terrible for you.
It’s not about how staying committed is good, because it’s not, it’s about how to overcome the fear of commitment despite it being pretty bad for you.
Think about it this way.
You got this big job interview coming up and you are told that in order to be accepted you need to sign an exclusive contract.
The terms of this contract say that you are to stay and work for this company for at least a year before going anywhere else.
Some people will be all like “Oh boy, a one year contract!”
But that’s all kinds of stupid.
What if you will find a better job? What if you start working only to discover that your new working place sucks? What then?
Nothing else matters, right? You sign the contract despite the commitment, not because of it.
The same applies to everything in life.
In marriage, you are committed to each other by law due to its nature, and I figure no one likes going through a divorce, not even gold-diggers.
in School, in work, and in every place we ever go to we are faced with commitment.
Despite that, people are still wanting others to make those commitments, and often times don’t hesitate to commit to something themselves.
Commitment brings stability
In five separate studies, people were shown to rate older practices more favorably after being told which one is older.
This entire research, comprised of no less than five studies mind you, comes to the conclusion that people simply don’t like change.
By being committed to something you are basically keeping at it, right?
Your boss has you sign a contract not because he finds you particularly valuable, but rather because he doesn’t want you to suddenly leave.
Even if he can find a more competent replacement, he will likely hesitate due to a certain natural bias, as research clearly shows.
Married couples are often times seen as more “serious” than non-married couples, partially for this very reason.
Marriage indicates stability (even if it’s anything but), something which people perceive as a “more serious relationship”.
Why, though? Why is so bad about things being potentially unstable, dynamic, in nature? Why is it so bad that we have to commit to things, even ones that we know that we will hate, in order to avoid it?
Well, here are a few solid reasons:
- Control – Some people like to be in control. As such, those people would have others commit to them in one way or another (relationships, work and the like). The ones that commit are okay with being told what to do since it makes things easier for them, and as such it’s a price that they are willing to pay.
- Stability – We don’t like change as a direct result of that. Direct continuation is always preferable to humans, regardless of our ability to adapt.
- Losing face – we said that X, and now we changed to Y, does that mean that X was wrong? Possibly.
- More work – By nature, we humans try to make the most out of the least amount of work possible. By making a change we force ourselves to work, something which we don’t like.
- The unknown – Even if what we know is potentially worse than what we don’t, we are still likely to go with what we know. Humans fear the unknown and don’t like surprises.
On the flip side, commitment supposedly solves all of these in one way or another.
How to overcome the fear of commitment
The fact that commitments are “easier” doesn’t mean that they are any good.
In fact, they really aren’t.
Yet the fear of commitments isn’t irrational in nature, so I don’t think that it is phobic either.
In fact, because it is rational it can be solved rather easily, here are a few things that you could try doing:
1) Understand that it has to be done
I am not talking about just forcing yourself onto a commitment to prove that you can.
After you avoided tying yourself down in any way that isn’t an absolute necesity, maybe you are ought to look at commitments that are an absolute must.
Buying a new house and living in it isn’t a necessity, neither is taking a loan to buy a car, but in a relationship, marriage might be the next big step.
Even if you really don’t want to, but in that case, it might lead to a break-up.
Would it really be worth it, under those conditions?
We all have the need to keep our options open and have as much control as we can, nobody likes being shut down and helpless.
Yet some things can’t, and shouldn’t, be avoided.
And that’s more than fine.
When you really think about it, even now you are already committed to more than one thing, and you are somehow handling it.
The law, by default, limits both your control over your life and any open options you might have had.
Sure, you could argue that you were born into these rules, thus making them a part of your “stability” factor, but that would only be a half-truth.
After all, as we established, most people don’t like being controlled, although some do like being told what to do.
But then again, these people aren’t the one who are afraid of commitments in the first place!
Understanding that some commitments can’t be avoided will only do so much, but rationalizing the fear is a major step for overcoming it.
2) Maintain flexibility
Even within commitments it is possible to be flexible.
For example, you don’t really have to get married in order to start a family, and even if you do, there are plenty of ways for you to fight down the backlash.
A quick visit to a lawyer nearby would tell you this much – marriage is nothing but a legal contract, and other contracts may come up to make any potential divorce much more easy for the two of you to bear.
A prenuptial agreement, for example, is one type of contract that can save you lots of time in court.
Some may argue that is not romantic, but in actuality there isn’t anything more romantic – putting your financial situation aside to focus solely on your relationship.
Sure, you may also develop the need to sign a contract to get a job, but the least you can do is to make that contract the best it can be, and if it isn’t good enough then it isn’t worth your time.
You need to remember that you aren’t doing anyone a favor by being committed to something or someone.
The only person with whom you should be concerned is you, and no one else really matters.
While walking away may not be possible, giving yourself as much freedom as you can is the second best thing that you can do for your own sake.
You need to strive for as much freedom as you can, anything else will leave you miserable
Wait, did I say second? I think that I did!
That leads us to the question, what is the best advice that I can possibly give you regarding this topic?
3) Find meaning
The biggest thing you want to do in order to overcome your fear of commitment is to have a vision to strive towards.
When accepting an unfavorable, limiting, contract, you need to visualize any and all benefits, your final goal needs to be right before your eyes, anything else simply won’t be good enough.
When you are getting married you need not think about how it will fail (though it might, hence tip #2), but rather about how happy you will be if it does succeed, how much value is there to be gained.
I already said how freedom is an important thing, but what if you find something to commit to that would simply be worth it?
The type of “something” that you would have committed to either way, whether you had your freedom or were forced about it.
This is a type of perceived freedom, and it’s very crucial to understand that some things are great just the way you are.
Having your goals and pleasures in life fall down on the same table as your commitments is a truly wonderful thing.
This would be the same as finding a job that you love, a family that you adore and a house that you like living in.
This is the sort of thing that is worth committing to, so you shouldn’t be always backing down from it just because it’s a commitment.
You may very well end up finding meaning, and that’s something that you shouldn’t miss out of sheer fear.
How to overcome the fear of commitment? By making it worth it!
It’s really that simple.
If you find something to commit to, that under the right conditions, is worth it to you, then you shouldn’t really have a problem to commit to it.
Sure, I get that it goes against our instincts and desires, yet it may help us find value and meaning that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Enough of that, Here’s a question – What is the best commitment you have ever made?
Be sure to answer this question in the comment section below, I read every single one of them!
If you got any questions you would like to ask me directly then make sure to send me an email!