I have some confessions to make. I’ve had some life lessons to navigate recently. I’ve spent a lot of time seeking answers through my own enlightenment and discussions with my coach. This is what was revealed:
1. I have a fear of commitment
2. I have an aversion to goal setting
My recent indecisiveness in choosing an apartment made me dig a little deeper. It revealed a bigger issue. This isn’t just a matter of not being able to make a simple choice. Sure, making a decision becomes a bit harder the more options I have. And, yes, I appreciate options, as I don’t like to be forced into anything. But maybe this inability to choose was an outward reflection of something more?
I asked my coach, “Do you think this is related to a fear of commitment?” He said “Well, what are you afraid of?” It isn’t that my options are insufficient. It isn’t the quality of the choices. It’s that I’m afraid to commit to one. But why? What am I afraid of? Why am I afraid of commitment?
We dove deep into this conversation and I realized that by committing to a choice, I am risking being faced with the pain of disappointment. I’ve done that before. I’ve given 100% to something, given it all my hope and commitment, only to have it not live up to those expectations and leave me in a pile of hurt. I’m not comfortable with taking that risk again. So, to protect myself from that, I don’t make a decision. I maintain the status quo and let life happen and see what falls into place. Then, whether it works out or it doesn’t, it’s a result of a hand I’ve been dealt, not a choice that I’ve made. But guess what? The pain that comes with being stuck in the status quo, of being in limbo and at the mercy of letting something happen rather than making something happen…that pain is just as bad, if not worse, than the pain of disappointment I’ve been struggling to avoid. Feeling stuck, bored, or feeling that I’ve settled, that is painful. Avoiding those things was why I moved out west to begin with. And now I’m still putting myself in that place? I owe myself more than that.
I’ve been wandering directionless for some time. What do I want in a career, apartment, relationship? Where do I want to go next or settle down? I honestly don’t know the answer to any of those questions. I go in circles — tirelessly, stressfully, anxiously. All three of those are uncomfortable places to be in emotionally. I sit down to goal set or to vision plan or to desire map. Things that, in theory, I love. It inspires me to dream. It makes me feel creative. It offers me an escape from this wheel I’m spinning. But goals and desires and visions require action. And action requires a plan. And a plan requires commitment. Which I don’t love. Apparently I can’t commit. It all boils down to: What if it doesn’t live up to my expectations? I always thought that I would rather take what I know, than throw it away for some unknown thing. Safe than sorry. And then my coach said, “Would you rather have a messy life you love, or a perfect life that feels a bit boring, a bit uninspired?”
Things have always fallen into place for me, with very little effort on my part. Choices were easy. Results were effortless. But, the deeper into this journey to the self that I get, the less likely any of that becomes. I need to adjust my expectations. I need to know that if a plan becomes derailed, another opportunity will present itself. I need to understand that it will be work, and an ongoing process. I need to trust that, no matter what, I will still be okay. I need to get comfortable with taking risks. Sure, committing to something is risking the unknown, but I can’t lose sight of the thrill that involves. I need to remember there’s adventure in that. The journey of growth and pushing boundaries requires pushing past the limits of the comfort zone.
I’m giving myself homework for the next few weeks. Turn my soul searching into a plan. Break it down. Normalize risk. Shift my expectations. Commit. Slowly but surely, get comfortable with committing again. The relief from restlessness, the exhilaration of the unknown, freedom from isolation — all the things I wish to experience, are on the other side. Embracing commitment, not fearing it, will get me to the other side.