This concept of hidden commitments has been explored by various psychologists, and can be hard to wrap your head around. It is probably easiest if I give you examples from my own life so that you can understand what I am taking about. Here are some of my hidden commitments and how they manifest in my life.
- I am committed to being perfect and not failing, which means that sometimes I don’t act because I am worried that it won’t turn out as I want it to, and thus I will have failed.
- I am committed to being strong and independent. Sometimes, when I am in crisis I fail to ask for support or help because I don’t want to appear weak or needy.
- I am committed to being right and knowing more than you. When engaged in a conversation with someone who doesn’t share my opinion, rather than listen to what they have to say, I am planning my retort so that I can prove my point.
- I am committed to looking good in other people’s eyes. This happens more than I would probably want to admit, but often manifests when I tell stories, where I am the main character, and those stories tend to get bigger than they really are.
What are your hidden and undeclared commitments?
- Maybe you are committed to being safe and comfortable, so you don’t take risks that might truly engage you, or push you to grow in new ways.
- Maybe you are committed to being significant and important in your boss’ eyes, so you work way harder than anyone else at the office, only it is putting your needs second.
- Maybe you are committed to being a perfect mother, so at the end of the day you haven’t done a thing for yourself and you are always exhausted.
- Maybe you are committed to being unemotional, so despite the emotions that are swelling in your body and head, you will never let a tear fall. Tears means weakness to you.
- Maybe you are committed to keeping the peace, so you never speak your mind or disagree with those around you, allowing others to decide for you, leaving you feeling resentful inside.
This week, I urge you to look closely at the actions or inactions that you take and try to determine what hidden commitment is lurking in the background, driving your decisions. As you begin to uncover them, take some time to reflect on how these hidden commitments may be competing with other commitments that you have made for yourself.
How might these hidden commitments be preventing you from reaching your goals in life or at work? How can you honor both sets of commitments, while still allowing you to grow?