Maybe it’s because it’s Fat Tuesday.
Maybe it’s because tomorrow is the beginning of Lent.
Maybe it’s because it’s February… and the cold makes me admit things.
But for whatever reason, I felt the need to confess something to you today.
I, Tracy Timm, used to be a total and complete…
That’s right—there was a time in my life when I had to be all but tied down in order to commit.
Think Chandler from FRIENDS, only 10x worse. And instead of just avoiding relationships, I was avoiding commitment to my own life.
It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want relationships or jobs or friends. It was the fact that I just didn’t want to make decisions. I felt so strongly that by choosing one thing, I was effectively NOT choosing all of the other things.
And who in their right mind could give up ALL THE OTHER THINGS?
I felt like committing to a single plan of action—a person, a situation, a job—was the most restricting thing I could do. I thought I was limiting myself. I believed that commitment was the opposite of freedom.
So much black and white.
But just recently, I had a good friend and mentor shine a new light on this line of thought.
He helped me realize that life wasn’t so black and white—that I could choose to live in the grey. Not “grey” in the sense of not standing for anything, but “grey” in the sense of a seeing the world through a completely different lens.
Instead of seeing commitment as a personal prison, he saw commitment as limitless liberation.
And it all changed because of a life's worth of experiences, and one quote that encapsulates them all:
“The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating -- in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.” -Anne Morris
The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic…
We all have this little voice in our head. It talks to us even when we are talking to someone else. And for the most part, this voice is horrible, horrible influence on us.
It’s an evil, sinister, harsh, destructive little bastard.
We think we are doing ourselves a favor by allowing that voice to be tough on us. To push us to something better. To fuel us to do more. To propel us to some higher level of achievement.
But you know what it usually does, instead?
It tears us down. It eats away at our self-confidence. It harms our ability to make decisions.
In short, it enslaves us.
When we choose to listen to that little voice that says, “you’re not good enough,” or “that decision is too scary,” or “you’ll never make it, so don’t bother committing and just get out while you still can,” we are freely choosing personal enslavement to our fears.
The act frees you… from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation…
When you say to yourself things like,
“It’s not the right time.”
“I’m not ready.”
“I haven’t practiced enough.”
“I’m not sure this will work out.”
What you’re really saying is,
It’s all different shades of the same thing.
Often times, when we make decisions (or DON’T make decisions) from a place of fear, we don’t even realize we’re doing it! We believe that we are acting rationally by acknowledging all the ways something could go wrong, all the research we haven’t done, all the time we still need. In reality, we are allowing fear to keep us from making decisions and making commitments.
We’re allowing fear to keep us in shackles.
And the scary part is, by doing nothing—“rationally” hesitating—we are ENSURING the fate that we are so scared of in the first place!
If we do nothing, NOTHING WILL HAPPEN!
But when we commit, we can ensure the complete opposite—SOMETHING will indeed happen.
To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.
Ever heard the phrase, “sometimes you just have to get out of your own way”?
When we commit, we get out of our own way. We let go of our “safe” holding pattern. We release ourselves from the voice in our heads that says, “we can’t”. We allow ourselves to finally… once and for all…
Free to be our true, authentic selves rather than hide by pleasing others. Free to express and chase our passions rather than cower in indecision. Free to enjoy our friends rather than analyze their merits. Free to love our significant others rather than worry about missing out on someone else. Free to use our money wisely rather than lament what we don’t have or what we can’t afford.
When we commit, we can be free to live our lives to the fullest.
Commitment is liberating.
As ironic as it sounds, try out tying yourself down to see just how freeing it can be.
Now, I want to hear from you!
- What is holding you in bondage in your own life?
- How could committing to something today actually set you free?
Share your story or your reaction in the comments below.
Tagged as affirmation, aspiration, capability, commitment is liberating, crazy, fear, find your mission, forget regret, friends, just allow, just try, life lessons, listen, love, meaningful, possibility, present moment, redefine, showing up, stories, storytelling, surprises