Commitment helps you sustain the decision to make changes in your life and is important to your self-esteem, success and all aspects of a relationship. Commitment is a good habit that can be learned, practiced and improved easily by nearly everyone. When you give your word, people can trust that you will not give up or quit easily. You will work hard to do what you promise to do. You try your best to succeed and you will go the distance, even though sometimes, you might fail. Commitment can be a fantastic quality in a relationship when the commitment is mutual. However, if only one partner commits, the relationship becomes out of balance and extremely painful for the committed… and claustrophobic for the uncommitted.

A high ability to commit is usually an asset, but in some circumstances, commitment can be self-defeating. Blindly committing to the wrong partner, job or leader can remove your free will and ability to make decisions that are sensible and healthy. Before or instead of committing to a family, young people often commit to a cause. People select causes that they care deeply about such as saving the Earth, religious quests, political change or ending discrimination, poverty and war. The intensity and commitment to these positive causes is admirable. Entrusting their young lives to their leaders, these highly committed dreamers have many good intentions and historically have been willing to endure hardships, such as war, sea voyages, explorations, evangelism and isolation from loved ones.

Beware. The quality of commitment is highly desired by evil leaders for selfish, self-serving causes. Many young people may be exploited for their ability to commit and carry out the requests of influential leaders, who are in reality committed only to themselves. Often in history, the young and malleable have committed without question to a sense of “duty” by following a strong leader’s desires to reach great goals by doing terrible acts. These leaders demand complete allegiance to their needs and wants, insist their followers reject their families and friends so that they gain complete control. Blind allegiance to these mentally-skewed leaders usually ends in disastrous results for their followers.

When you promise commitment, you must be certain that the road you take is an honest, moral one as the outcome of any "cause" cannot be predicted. Rather than do something unlawful, evil or cruel to achieve an imaginary great result or goal, make certain that you are on an honorable path of your own choice and perception of right and wrong. If you have a strong ability to commit, you must also develop high self-esteem to protect you from gross manipulation by strong leaders who may influence you to become their pawns.

Just like a strong leader, a selfish, manipulative partner can have an unfair power over you and create havoc in your life if you should commit to them. If you have broken laws, hurt people, become estranged from your family, or gone against your own moral code to please a dominant partner then your high level of commitment is working against you. Be very careful how and to whom you commit your energy, allegiance, time, trust and devotion. There is nothing romantic or noble about committing to a cold, heartless human being.

©2009, Molly Barrow

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Dr. Molly Barrow holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is the author of the new book, Matchlines: A revolutionary New Way of looking at relationships and making the right choices in love. She is an authority on relationship and psychological topics, a member of the American Psychological Association and a licensed mental health counselor. Dr. Molly has appeared as an expert on NBC, PBS, KTLA, and in O Magazine, Psychology Today, Newsday,,, Women's Health and Women's World. Please visit: or Take the new relationship compatibility test, Match Lines Systems for Successful Relationships for Singles, Couples and Business at Molly has a radio program, Your Relationship Answers at

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