What is commitment and what does commitment mean to you?
We all make commitments in some form or other, whether individually or collectively, for a cause, course of action or belief.
Commitment means making a promise, dedication, or pledge to fulfill certain responsibilities or uphold specific values. It can be about dedicating yourself to a person or a relationship, or something, like a cause, a job, a course of action, a belief or even a hobby. It’s all about being fully involved and sticking to it, no matter what. It’s like saying, “I’m all in!” and showing your determination to follow through and give it your best shot. It’s about having a strong sense of responsibility and being willing to make sacrifices to keep that promise or reach that goal. And whether the commitment is an individual one, for relationships or life goals, or if it’s collective, such as commitments through organizations, communities, or nations, it’s about dedication and trust.
Throughout history, commitments and oaths have played significant roles in various societies and the concept of commitment has evolved and varied across different cultures and time periods. They’ve largely been associated with politics, and legal systems and religious beliefs. It has often involved rituals, worship, obedience to religious authorities, and adherence to ethical principles.
In ancient societies such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, commitment often revolved around loyalty to the state, the ruler, or the gods. Citizens were expected to show allegiance and dedication to their respective city-states or empires through military service, paying taxes, and upholding societal norms. Oaths were also associated with religious rituals and ceremonies. The Greeks, for example, had a tradition of taking oaths in the name of their gods, such as Zeus or Apollo. Similarly, the Romans took oaths invoking their deities, especially Jupiter, the king of gods. The most important oath for soldiers was the Sacramentum, swearing allegiance to their commanders, the emperor, and the gods.
The Middle Ages
During the medieval period in Europe, commitment was intertwined with the feudal system and the code of chivalry. Knights and vassals were bound by oaths of loyalty and service to their lords or monarchs. These commitments included military service, protection of the weak, and adherence to the knightly virtues.
Christianity played a significant role in shaping the concept of oaths. Swearing oaths on religious relics, such as the Bible or the relics of saints, became common. This practice was closely tied to the belief in divine intervention and the idea that breaking an oath would bring about divine punishment.
In the realm of politics and governance, oaths were administered to monarchs, nobles, and officials to affirm their loyalty and responsibilities. For instance, English monarchs would take a coronation oath during their ascension to the throne, pledging to uphold the laws and govern justly. Feudal vassals also took oaths of fealty to their lords, promising their allegiance and military support.
In legal systems, oaths played a crucial role in trials and judicial proceedings. Witnesses, defendants, and even jurors would often swear oaths to tell the truth or fulfill their duties faithfully. These oaths were intended to ensure honesty and integrity in the pursuit of justice.
The American Revolution
In the United States, commitments and oaths have been instrumental in establishing and preserving the principles and values upon which the nation was founded. During the colonial period, oaths were commonly used to ensure loyalty and compliance with English laws and authorities. The American Revolution saw new significance as oaths of allegiance to the newly formed states or to the cause of independence became prevalent. For example, the Continental Congress adopted oaths of allegiance for military personnel and public officials, affirming their support for the Revolutionary cause. By 1788, the U.S. Constitution, outlined specific oaths for various government officials. Article II, Section 1, Clause 8 of the Constitution requires the President to take the presidential oath of office, stating: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States.” This oath is traditionally administered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during the presidential inauguration. Similarly, Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution specifies that all federal and state officials must take an oath to support the Constitution, reflecting the importance placed on upholding the principles and values of the Constitution in the American system of government.
Social Contracts and Enlightenment
Enlightenment philosophers like John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau introduced the concept of social contracts, which influenced ideas about commitment in the modern era. These theories proposed that individuals enter into agreements with their societies, surrendering some freedoms in exchange for protection and the preservation of order.
In many traditional societies, arranged marriages were prevalent, where commitment was expected as a social duty rather than a matter of personal choice. Over time, the concept of commitment in relationships has shifted to emphasize personal involvement and mutual consent.
It’s important to note that the what commitment means has changed over time and it continues to evolve in modern society, influenced by cultural shifts, individualism, and changing social norms.
Coaching and Commitment
In coaching language, commitment means the dedication and willingness of an individual to take consistent action towards achieving their goals or desired outcomes. It involves making a firm decision and following through with actions that align with their intentions and aspirations.
When a coach discusses commitment with their client, they are emphasizing the importance of staying focused, accountable, and persistent in pursuing their objectives. Commitment entails being fully engaged in the coaching process, actively participating in coaching sessions, completing agreed-upon tasks, and embracing personal growth and change.
A committed coachee demonstrates a strong sense of responsibility and determination to overcome obstacles, develop new habits, and sustain progress. They are willing to invest time, energy, and effort into their personal or professional development, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. Ultimately, commitment in coaching language signifies the individual’s dedication to their own growth and success.
IIRFL and Commitment
The IIRFL is committed to upholding the legacy of the Radical Forgiveness principles, work, and methodologies and to delivering the best solutions and experiences for our community of followers, students, and coaches. We are committed to raising global consciousness and empowering individuals, families and organizations with the tools, knowledge, and skills, to live free from past hurt and pain, and to developing coaches who will be able to teach and share these transformational skills globally.
So after all that, what does commitment mean to you?