There’s a difference between being interested in something and being committed to something. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you make the time to do it.
The same goes for people and our relationships—marriage, parenting, friendships.
A commitment signifies a completely different level of personal involvement and personal investment of our time and energy and our care and concern and wisdom.
Thus our commitments—our ability to make and keep and honor our commitments—is dependent upon our level of personal development.
Our level of personal development is shorthand for / the sum of many things:
- Our level of emotional maturity
- The clarity of our thinking
- How well we have developed our critical thinking skills
- How much perspective we have (beginning with the end in mind; not sweating the small stuff; The Serenity Prayer)
- What our relationship to reality and to our own mortality is like
- How dedicated we are to ideals like truth, justice, love, beauty, virtue
- How well developed our conscience is
- How warm, kind, compassionate, and understanding we are (the so-called “heart qualities”)
- How resilient we are, et cetera.
There’s a world of difference between being interested in a person ( / being interested in being in a relationship with a person), and being committed to a relationship and a person.
Even saying that we’re committed to a person or even being married to a person doesn’t actually mean we’re truly committed to that person and that relationship. It’s quite possible to be married and not very committed to the other person or the marriage.
When we’re merely interested in a person and a relationship, it shows: we prioritize that person and give him or her attention and time *only* when it’s convenient to *us* and *only* to the extent that it’s convenient to *us.* We don’t stretch or extend ourselves. We’re more self-centered and focused on what we’re receiving / getting out of the relationship and from the other person rather than the quality and quantity of our giving. The other person isn’t essential to us, he or she is peripheral to us, an accessory—expendable and replaceable. That person and that relationship are not at the top of our list or near the top of our list, but somewhere down the list —
- Then the other person, and the other person only as much as he or she is a means to these other things.
On the other hand, when we’re committed to a person and to our relationship with that person, we prioritize that relationship and that person. We show up and not only when it’s convenient for us to do so. We engage the person, we really look at and notice and appreciate the other person and his or her uniqueness, essence, core, and potentials and talents as well oddities. We set aside and make ample quality time for the other person. We don’t accept excuses from ourselves or make excuses for ourselves. What we do speaks more loudly than what we say. We show our level of commitment through our consistency and our behaviors, and through behaviors that show how we are extending ourselves for the relationship and the other person, prioritizing that person, honoring and cherishing the other person, not taking him or her for granted.
When we’re inconsistent in how we treat another person, it shows that either we’re not really committed to that person and that relationship, or it shows that we need to improve our level of commitment and our ability to live up to our commitment.
When we’re consistent in how we treat another person—and we treat that other person consistently in a way that is honorable, respectful, kind and loving—then it shows that we’re deeply committed to that person.
. Related articles:
Are You Committed or Just Interested? (elainebaileyinternational.com/wordpress)