My Perceived Weakness is One of My Greatest Strengths: Refusal to Commit

scrabble tiles that spell out commit or quit

As a former mentally gifted kid, I had a serious issue with procrastination, mostly due to perfectionism, which stemmed from unaddressed emotional needs (e.g. not having a safe learning space, coming from abuse/trauma, unreasonable expectations set by supervising adults, etc.). Nowadays, they have an umbrella term for such cases called “twice exceptional” or 2e for short. I was interested in so many different subjects, but I lacked confidence and withdrew a lot as I was constantly being told to mold myself in particular ways, as opposed to being supported in the ways that could help me to grow and develop my mind.

One of the issues that later formed for me was my refusal to commit to anything. The opportunity cost for committing to anything in my life was way too high. I had experienced a number of unhealthy friendships and relationships. I was treated poorly at work and in school despite achieving more or working harder/smarter. I was scolded for how I performed, simply because I was not the “best” or “not doing my best”, even if others around me got away with doing less. My health was pretty chaotic and not cooperating either. At some point, I started to close off…

This is when I learned how to stop making promises or commitments that I couldn’t keep. I learned how to better communicate what I could and what I could not do. I only started advocating for what I was willing to do much later in life.

The reason I usually refrain from commitments or promises is that I don’t want to give anyone false hope of expectations that I cannot fulfill, in work, relationships, and more. The pro to this is that if I say I’m committed to something or that I promise something, it’s because I actually want to follow through and will do everything I can (health-willing) to do so. I know what it’s like to be let down (several times, repeatedly), and I don’t like ever doing that to anyone else, not even unintentionally. I try my best to make it abundantly clear that there are certain things I can do and other things I cannot.

I started thinking about my social circle more this year, and I’ve realized, this area could use significant upgrades. I think I have lots of friends, but hardly any deep and meaningful ones. Even though I could tell you a lot about certain friends, I don’t feel close to anyone in particular. On the top of my head, the closest friend to me does not even share some of my top values or interests. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, and oddly enough, I can get into 3D or 4D kinds of social interactions with people pretty easily. (The four dimensions of relationships are the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. So they are mind, body, heart, and spirit.) Still, I’ve been feeling pretty empty lately, despite such an abundance in social connections. The depth and level of commitment is lacking. It’s like learning A2 Spanish and then just stopping, and that’s as far as any conversation will go. It’s nice, but… I don’t want just “nice” anymore. I want to carve deeper.

It’s interesting because if I were to tell you about a friend or their story, it might seem like I know them very well or that I’m enjoying a rich or deep connection. But honestly, I’m just a curious being, so I like to get a sense of people’s backstories. Otherwise, I’m just another blob in most people’s universe. If I mean anything to anyone in particular, I’m not aware, because I’m not experiencing such a mutual level of commitment. And that’s what I’ve been seeking more intentionally, lately.

At some point, I started to realize, I haven’t actually experienced a significant, meaningful relationship with anybody. If I were looking back, there were maybe a few I could identify as wanting to keep a long-lasting, meaningful connection (friends or relationships). But, all of those ended up fading, for mostly unstable reasons and needs not being addressed or boundaries being crossed. And then any kind of long-lasting friendships only lasted so long because the level of commitment was so low anyway. There are no expectations, which seems nice, but then the depth is still lacking or not going as far as it could. Even if it were tipping into a deep mental connection, unless we were intentionally masterminding or working long-term together, it can be as fragile and fleeting as any other type of connection (even compared to a 1D or 2D connection).

So strangely, a 3D or 4D connection is not enough for me, not right now at least. I can literally manifest this type of connection within a week or less, possibly even within a day. I’ve been wanting to share collective experiences with a person or with a few people, be it a relationship or best/close friends, and have that sense of belonging. I don’t think this is an odd need. I’ve been pretty used to going through many highs and lows in my life on my own, so it’s not some huge insecurity of mine to go through experiences alone. But after a while, you want to try a different flavor, and that flavor for me is shared or co-creative. I don’t think this is an unreasonable kind of experience to want to have, so long as the person I’m with wants that as well.

So despite not easily committing to anything right away, I find that lately because I have been saying “no” to partial matches, there are more opportunities revealing themselves that are immediate yeses. That feels amazing. And sometimes, scary, especially regarding social connections. For moments, I’ll feel pretty good about following my intuition. And then sometimes because I’ve experienced a mixed bag of unhealthy and healthy social interactions, I’ll be asking myself, “Am I doing this right, or am I missing a blindspot?”

I have noticed that I’ve been improving overall. I don’t have many commitments that I’ve placed upon myself. Though, the few commitments (priorities) I have now are:

– My overall career path (creativity + entrepreneurial pursuits)
– My health and wellness
– My mindset + learning
– Autonomy + advocating for myself
– Learning healthy communication + boundaries

And all of these commitments to myself, while lighthearted in approach, are pretty serious to me and are areas I’d love to continue exploring over my lifetime. I’ve been exploring all of these areas for years on my own, and… though it’s nice to share aspects of myself to anyone really (e.g. my audience or my listeners), I never really grew up with such a safe, stable support system, so… Maybe it’s only now, that I’m realizing how much I’ve missed out on that. You can grow a lot on your own, for sure. I just don’t think I’m interested in walking that path alone, anymore.

Yet at the same time, I don’t want to walk with just anyone. And that’s why lately, I’ve been focusing on being intentional. I think just as I had to be intentional about my career path, I don’t want to leave deep, meaningful connections up to chance anymore. I think I need to get clear about what I’m looking for.

Mostly when I think of someone like a potential partner, I’m hoping to have certain experiences more than traditional aspects of relationships (though I am open to that as well). And although I could have more fragmentation of social interactions that could fulfill those kinds of experiences (e.g. a dance partner, a business partner, an artist/producer to collab with, a workout buddy, a travel partner, a cuddle buddy, etc.), I feel like it’s no different than having dozens of social media apps and being scattered, in presence and attention. Someone people may say having one partner or one best/close friend is risky. But if you committed yourself to someone who marks off all the qualities, values, or interests you’re looking for, and they also find you to be a top match, then is it really so bad? When I commit to a career path of creative pursuits, mostly music and content creation, then I don’t really care that I’m missing out on accounting or a car washing business. There are so many aspects of what I do that I enjoy, that I don’t even look elsewhere. So in addition to being a commitment, it is an investment. It is, “You are so important to me that I see the value in putting time and energy into this.” Otherwise, it feels no different than an open loop or continuously dabbling.

I think if I want to do that with my social interactions, then I have to look at it as I did with my career. I would have to look at the types of interactions I’ve had so far and evaluate the pros and cons. And then, carve out the ultimate friendship and the ultimate relationship/partner I’m looking for. It sounds so odd to write that out, but hey, there’s so many people you can run into these days, especially with the internet. Plus if I don’t even know what I want and cannot vocalize that, how is anyone else going to figure that out for me (aside from maybe an AI)?

I obviously haven’t had success yet with this, though I haven’t even really given myself a chance to work through it. But starting today, I am intentionally looking. And, I’m hoping to come across a person who aligns so well that they’re just as highly invested/committed as I am. For me, commitment is not an obligation; it truly is a choice, my choice (and hopefully to the other person, their/our choice).

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