No matter who you are or what you do, you have commitments that you are accountable for in your life; things that you have agreed to for one reason or another. Some of these commitments were formed because you felt a sense of duty or obligation to someone, others you committed to because you wanted to be impressive, and still other commitments have been made throughout your life based on appeasing someone, being accepted or a general fear of getting in trouble. While you may have taken a liking to the commitments in your life or may have even learned to love some of them, the fact remains that many of your commitments were not made consciously.
Just to be clear, we are not giving you permission to ditch your commitments. Regardless of your reasons for agreeing to the things you have taken on, you have still given your word and made the commitment. The point here is to be conscious about any other agreements you make moving forward. Also, you can change your relationship to the commitments you have now or renegotiate with the people with whom you have entered said agreements. It is not useful to make yourself wrong for any agreements you have entered, what is useful for you is to make sure that any agreements you enter from this point on are in alignment with your vision and who you want to be in the world. When you make commitments that are in alignment with who you want to be in the world, you setup the opportunity to be held accountable and stay on track. This can be very useful when it is in alignment with your vision for your life, and this accountability can be extremely trying when you are being held accountable for something that is out of alignment or something you don't truly care about.
There are more areas that involve conscious commitments in your life than just your agreements with other people. You make agreements with yourself all the time and these are the agreements that are broken the most often. You are not alone in this behavior, most people break the agreements they have made with themselves to accommodate others, usually for the reasons listed above. Your word with yourself is just as important as it is with anyone else - even more when it has to do with your own self-care and boundaries. When you break commitments to yourself, often a flurry of negative self-talk, blame, berating of yourself, etc. are triggered and this serves no one.
To break this pattern of self-deprecation, you need to set some clear and definite boundaries. Unfortunately, setting boundaries has become a lost art, it is something that most people are not taught to do. You are expected to have boundaries, but you are never taught how to set them and stick to them. Simply, a boundary is a commitment that you make to yourself that keeps you safe. When your boundaries are approached by someone else, you have the choice to stand strong or back down - just like any other commitment in your life. Unlike other commitments, your boundaries are subject to you only - no one else has a say in what your boundaries are. They can flex as you become more intimate with someone, but they are never broken (think of it this way, you are probably not going to have sex with someone immediately upon meeting them, but after a few dates when you feel safe with them, you may want to have sex with them).
Before entering into any agreement, remember:
You know who you are!
No agreement is worth sacrificing your values.
1. When you reflect on the commitments you have throughout your life, how many of them did you enter consciously? Which commitments do you fulfill out of obligation? Fear of getting in trouble or not being accepted?
2. What are you accountable for in your life? Which commitments keep you accountable for something that you actually want to be accountable for?
3. What are some of your boundaries? If you have never thought about it before, or your boundaries seem unclear, what are some that you want to create that will allow you to feel safe? What are some boundaries you can create to ensure that you are always taking care of yourself?
Continue listening to the Attention Training: Finding Your Voice today and get ready for something new and exciting that is coming tomorrow!