BY peggy hammes
How many times have we made resolutions, promises, or plans to change something—only to have it snap back in our faces like a boomerang? Often our initial vow is well intended. It just gets re-designed somewhere along the way, often leaving us feeling frustrated and believing that we have no will power in the face of adversity.
The truth is, what is sabotaging us is often a hidden commitment. Most of us don’t even know that we have commitments other than the ones we are trying to manifest. This is because they’re unconscious. They are our first commitments, and until we become aware of them and bring them into consciousness, they will override all other desires.
Our underlying commitments drive our thoughts, our beliefs, and our choices every day. They are the discrepancy between what we say we want and what we are actually experiencing. For example, you might have an underlying commitment to stay safe. Even when you long for a career change, a new location, or a different relationship, if your choices stay consistent with your underlying commitment to safety, you won’t be able to manifest your longing. Perhaps you believe you can’t trust anyone and therefore it is easier to be alone. Even though you want love and intimacy in your life, you will consistently find reasons to end the relationship because your first commitment is to stay safe by yourself.
Each time we set forth a new vision and find ourselves struggling to attain success, we need to look for the underlying commitment that has taken control. Here’s an example. Recently, I committed to pulling myself out of debt and re-establishing financial security. This decision came after many months of running back and forth to Iowa to take care of my elderly parents and neglecting my own financial situation. What I discovered is that I continued to spend the same amount of money as when I was working full time, so that my expenditures quickly exceeded my income. As I continued to delve into my dilemma, I uncovered a much deeper commitment to myself. I had vowed to spend my money wherever and whenever I wanted to, in order to compensate for the extra care I was giving to others and the lack of care I was giving myself. Without even thinking, I would veer off course and spend money instead of paying off debt.
Having brought my underlying commitment into conscious awareness, I now could make a choice. I could either ask myself in what other ways I could care for myself—or I could go for the quick fix. One choice would lead me in the direction of my deepest desire and the other would lead me only farther away.
This is the war, the internal struggle that goes on between our unconscious commitments and our soul’s desires. Our soul longs for all the things that will bring us joy and fulfillment, while our unconscious underlying commitments strive to be expressed and validated. Our first commitments are powerful, driving us to repeat self-sabotaging behaviors over and over again. If they remain unhidden, they will continue to rule our choices, leaving us to experience the struggle that goes along with saying we want one thing while continuing to do another.
Peggy Hammes, M.S., is a licensed psychotherapist, Certified Imago Relationship Therapist, and Teacher of Wisdom.
See the index for more articles on Relationships and Conscious Living.