The Paradox of Commitment

by Lisa Tran Boinnard in


Commitment is a practice. Commitment is a continual renewal in an agreement and action, moment to moment. When we are challenged by commitment, when we cannot fully commit and our practice is disrupted, commitment then turns philosophical.

Within the act of commitment, there is devotion, faithfulness, dedication, loyalty. There is also obligation, duty, responsibility – qualities that can create a sense of restriction, of less freedom. Commitment can be a paradox, and we can avoid it entirely when we don't accept the paradox.

Paradoxes require expansive acceptance: this and that. We need to create the space for seemingly negating qualities to co-exist. I am loyal to this person and I accept the obligation to commit. I am devoted to this purpose and it requires much of my time and attention. 

We come into resistance with commitment when we yearn for one aspect but not the other. When we are not willing to agree to all the terms of engagement. 

Where do you yearn for something but are not willing to pay the toll for entry into relationship with it? The effort. The duty. The devotion. This requires honesty – to look at how we actually show up. 

Don't waste your energy on shame or guilt here. Just go gentle, be honest. Get curious. And once there is clarity, once you know that you have actually chosen to not fully commit, you actually have the freedom to choose otherwise. 

Then commitment again becomes a practice.