Commitments

Commitments

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Commitments. Hmm. The root of so many worries for people. The one who claim they are not are lying. They challenge us. They keep us grounded. They provide sanity checks. Yet. When do you let go of a commitment? I think this is many ways is the struggle between the heart and the brain. Or is it? Shouldn’t the heart and brain be the same? Or is the brain and heart, the Ying and Yang of the body keeping each of the parts sane in a complex dance of the quest for fulfillment, endorphins and happiness? Who knows. I guess that is the charm of life. You do not know.

Commitments and the relation to them show the character in people. They really do. Yet I do believe we tend to cling to them. I had a discussion some time back with some friends on commitments over a few glasses of wines. The crowd was pretty diverse as for ethnicity, race, religion and social economy. It was indeed a very interesting discussion. My main point during the discussion was: “You will only keep commitments your heart truly believes in.” it has taken me a lot of time to admit this to myself. If i believe in something, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for the sake of the commitment.

Yet.

When you stop believing in something and you constantly have to justify it and your relation to the commitment, it is time to let go. The commitment is long gone, and it is hurting you more than it is helping you. Yet so many people choose to commit to the commitment. Clinging on to it. I, for long time in my life, tried to stay with commitments I had in my own “almighty” (note the irony) mind painted up as the true solutions of life. Hmm hubris for sure. :-) “These are the pillars by which I will live. I will never break these rules.” Hmm. Boy, did that bite me in the ass. All the time. I have learnt that when I say I will never do something, I immediately have to face that statement.

I do not know why we (including me) do cling to commitments. Maybe it is some false and weird safety. The usual. Stay with the known. Facing change is hard. Facing change and breath of fresh air in yourself is troubling to so many. It has been troubling to me. Probably still am to some extent. I would be lying if I wouldn’t say that. Yet I think I am growing up here. :-) A very dear friend some time ago asked me to do something. My answer was simply: “No, I will not because I do not believe in it.”

Commitments give us structure. We need structure. Yep, we do. I would say that commitments are creations of our brains, and will be used as guides on our road in life. Yet they are only the guides and milestones of our lives, but they do not make us up. They are not the path we should take. They as we will evolve and change over time. They are not everlasting commandments. Believing that is a lie to yourself and others, and I have seen too many people suffer due to the over belief in commitments. Out-dated commitments create a structure that doesn’t exists. It is not there, other than in our minds and probably more damaging than good.

Yet I do believe we should be guided by our heart as well as our brain, but we shouldn’t try to justify things that only part of us believe in. If we are not in it with our hearts, it is not true to us. It is not true to anyone else either. We should be driven by compassion for others as well as ourselves. Clinging to outdated commitments is far from compassionate to you, nor is it to others.

A friend of mine expressed it so well: “The heart is the brain because they are both on a path towards compassion for others.”

Imagine what the world would be with more compassion.

eriks

Erik is currently the Principal Technical Architect at AT&T The Foundry. Erik was the CTO of Spot.us, a global platform for community-funded local reporting (winner of the Knight News Challenge). Previously, Erik co-founded Allvoices.com, where he served as the VP of Social Media and User Interface. Allvoices.com is a global community that shares news, videos, images and opinions. At the Reuters Digital Vision Program at Stanford University between 2005-2006, he created the website inthefieldONLINE.net, which drew widespread recognition from major global media including PBS, CNN and BBC, and was featured on Discovery International’s Rewind 2006 as one of the 25 highlights of the Year.

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eriks

Erik is currently the Principal Technical Architect at AT&T The Foundry. Erik was the CTO of Spot.us, a global platform for community-funded local reporting (winner of the Knight News Challenge). Previously, Erik co-founded Allvoices.com, where he served as the VP of Social Media and User Interface. Allvoices.com is a global community that shares news, videos, images and opinions. At the Reuters Digital Vision Program at Stanford University between 2005-2006, he created the website inthefieldONLINE.net, which drew widespread recognition from major global media including PBS, CNN and BBC, and was featured on Discovery International’s Rewind 2006 as one of the 25 highlights of the Year.

All stories by:eriks