Thursday, September 11, 2008

Aspects of Commitment Phobia, part 2 of 3

Roots

In order to fix the problem, it helps to figure out where it began. When it comes to relationships, many who have a phobia of commitment often come from homes where their parents are divorced or the relationship between their parents was turbulent. For others, a tragedy during their childhood years made them subconsciously fearful of committing to something out of fear they would get hurt again. It may even be more straight-forward - they once made a bad decision which had a big impact on their life. While they may not have realized it at the time, this programmed them to question their decision making abilities for thereon in, thereby creating indecision, fear of committing to a decision and ultimately wreaking havoc in their personal and social lives.

For myself, I have had a difficult time figuring out where my indecision arose. I used to be great at making decisions and sticking to them. I come from a fairly stable home so I can't blame it on any divorce. I believe my commitment issues arose from three areas. 1) several years ago I chose one school over another to do my MBA. The experience ended up to be unpleasant and I always felt like I would have been much better off at the school that I turned down. 2) letting other people influence my decision making process, and 3) seeing friends marry and settle down with people that are probably not the greatest. So for me, over time, these things made me phobic of making wrong choices.

Take a step back from yourself and ask yourself what goes through your head every time you have to make a decision. Whose interests are you considering? Yours, your friends, society's? Also, consider that the magnitude of most of the decisions you make each day probably aren't nearly to the extent you think they are. People decide to get married, have babies and buy houses much quicker than many of you out there reading this would take to decide whether you should eat at McDonald's or Burger King. And I'm not exaggerating.

Justification

Of course we can each justify our lengthy decision making process. By being overly analytical perhaps we have avoided settling down with people that were no good for us, or turning down a job that would have made us miserable. But how many great things have we missed because we mulled it over too long? I want to tell you something from someone who is still fairly young - life is SHORT. You all know that. In the blink of an eye, ten years can pass. And while you were waiting, moaning and mulling things over, life was passing by, people were getting married, having kids and having fun. In fact some people were already getting married for a second time (and who knows, maybe a third!).

I tend to now believe that it is better to make a decision that may be wrong later, than to not make any decision at all and later fantasize about what could have been. Especially for commitment-phobes, one of our greatest assets is our fantasies, however that is also our greatest liability. Our rich fantasy life makes us always think ahead to what might be if we wait a bit longer and commit later, but in the meantime when we lose out on something good, our fantasy mind goes into overdrive wondering about how great life could have been had we made a decision.

It is never too late to change. But the first step comes with recognizing it. Too often the term commitment-phobe is thrown around and marginalized so people don't pay much attention to it. But if someone calls you that or if any of the examples above seem to fit you, take a step back and look at your life and you daily routine. Maybe you do have commitment issues that go beyond simple indecision. Perhaps you actually have a fear of committing to things.

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