The Fear of Making Commitments to Ourselves

The two most powerful words in the English language are, “I will.” The second most powerful are “never again.”

These words reflect resolve and conviction. These are promises to be kept. I call BS every time I hear someone in recovery say, “I could”, “I would”, or “I should.” Our lack of commitment to self is a big part of how our lives became a mess in the first place.

Disappointing Ourselves

We are people who fear making commitments to ourselves. We have been disappointed so often that we came to see it as acceptable to let ourselves down.

We do this dishonestly, of course. We say that “It’s ok, as long as I’m the only one who gets hurt.” We justify treating ourselves as the people who hurt us the most did. We settle for less than we can have because it feels safer to do so. We fear that if we do better, more will be expected of us. To say that we are slackers is to only scratch the surface.

We are terrified of our potential and what we might become. Most of us have a clear image of who and how we don’t want to be. We lack a corresponding vision of what our ideal self would pursue. We remain free to do the things that have worked for millions of others and I always say – do all the basics and then whatever’s left we can explore.

Two Fears to Overcome

Everyone knows the fear of failure. Part of our struggle is the fear of success. I heard once that, “An addict will jump out of a third-story window because they’re afraid of falling out of the penthouse.” That resonates and it explains our propensity for self-sabotage.

Growth and healing are not comfortable. As my friends in Narcotics Anonymous say, all we need to do is get comfortable with being uncomfortable and endless possibilities are born.

I hope you’ll spend some time today setting some small goals and asking those who support you to hold you accountable for small consistent steps toward fulfilling them.