February 8, 2009
Out of everything Starbucks has printed on the side of a cup of the years, my favorite is The Way I See It #76.“The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is remove your head as the barrier to your life.” – Anne Morriss
I’ve loved the quote since the first time I saw it. I read it out loud at my best friend’s wedding as I made my toast (she may have laughed because I had been carrying it in my purse for months or maybe it was because something I loved was related to coffee yet again). Before I moved in with Brian, I had the quote hanging on my dresser mirror to remind myself of its importance each morning as I started my day. I since lost the quote but it still came to me from time to time.
Commitment is deeply liberating. It is a fact that proves itself on a daily basis.
When I committed myself to my marriage, so many other aspects of my life came into place. I had the freedom to take risks in my career because of unconditional love and support. I did not need to worry about the port I would return to at night so the chaos of my career was not overwhelming but manageable.
When I committed myself to my writing after a long period of neglect, I felt a surge in my creativity and in my sense of who I am. The commitment to craft words that could stand for me released the built up tension in my mind. I didn’t need to worry about what I was going to write, what my ideas would be, or how to best articulate my ideas – I just needed to stay committed my writing. I was liberated.
That is why commitment is liberating. It frees you from a question that plagues your mind and consumes your energy. Instead you energy is spent on what you love, what you care about, what is most important in your universe.
My internal critic had a lot of time to practice being a critic. That was also called being a teenager. But the danger with that is as time goes on our inner critic grows stronger, more jaded. The critic sees why this won’t work, why this won’t be a fairytale ending, why you don’t deserve what you want. Commitment scares my internal critic. Commitment reminds my critic that she does not run the show. And there are times when it is appropriate and relevant for my critic to make and appearance but that is most definitely not all day, everyday.
After the turmoil of the critical teenage years, it seems to me that your twenties should be an exercise in learning how to listen carefully to yourself and how to take what the critic says with a grain of salt. It makes me wonder: do the people who learn how to listen to themselves in the twenties enjoy a more peaceful thirties and forties?
I hope so.