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#12 - Commitment

This column writing is no easy task, sometimes. You, my loyal readers, have come to expect and rely on your Love Doctor to entertain and enlighten you. That is a serious responsibility. This week really put me to the test.

The Love Doctor really doesn't feel like writing, this evening. You see, yesterday, we celebrated "Boo's" birthday. I had to buy a gift. (I always buy gifts at the last minute. That's when I'm in the mood.) Had to do a few of those extra nice things around the house. (Didn't want Boo going into one of those "I'm not appreciated" depressions) and had to entertain parents and siblings last night. Too much food, too much drink and up too late!

Well, anyway, my present desire to be someplace else (like lying on the couch) and my determination to keep my word to my editor have inspired this week's column. The topic is "commitment". That's pronounced "COE MITT MEANT" for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term. If you fear it, muster the courage to stick around. We're not going to ask you for any; just going to help you understand how it might improve your life.

Guess what readers! Lots of folks have just laid down the paper or turned the page. "Commitment" terrifies some people. Others simply have no use for it, since they are only looking for a few thrills and someone to be their amusement park. Needless to say, both of these types should be avoided unless you enjoy pain.

Hey, wait a minute. You know I might actually be able to help you check out your "significant other". I'll bet that you can use this week's column to measure a person's attitude toward commitment. Try it. Give this issue to your test subject and ask that person if he or she would check out the Love Doctor column and tell you what its about this week. If they tell you its about commitment and say nothing else, they probably have no interest in any commitment. They were turned off by the word "commitment" and stopped reading as soon as they discovered the topic of the column.

But if they should come to you with a sly smile, asking whether or not you were trying to test them, be encouraged. There is hope that you are dealing with someone who is not avoiding commitment. (You don't have to admit that you were testing them, they have no way of proving that you read the column before they did.)

Let's move on.

Commitment is a decision to succeed combined with a willingness to improve oneself. It really doesn't matter whether you are embarking on marriage, a new job, business, college or any new challenge; without commitment, you are doomed to failure. Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond their control, even committed people fail, but uncommitted people almost always fail, even when circumstances are not difficult.

Lets try to understand just what is involved in commitment. Any true commitment can be broken down into two parts: a decision to succeed and a willingness to improve oneself. The first part of commitment, the decision to succeed, is not as simple as it seems. When you decide to succeed you must also decide to do everything that is required for that success. It's easy to say "I want to get a college degree", but its another thing to say "I want to do everything that is necessary to get a college degree; study, write papers, get to class on time, deal with professors' attitudes, etc, etc.." The same is true with relationships. When you decide to commit yourself to a relationship with a lover, you must decide to make it succeed. You must decide to do whatever you must do to help it succeed.

So many of you people enter relationships, even marriage, the same way that many freshmen enter college. They shop for a wardrobe. They attend orientation and lunch, are present in the halls, and the student union, and make all the parties but are gone after the first semester. They went to college, but they never committed themselves to those sometimes difficult and tedious task that are required to be successful. (Then they blame someone else for their failure, "Yeah, she could have given me those 5 points") You must decide to do the work that success requires.

I really don't know most of my readers, personally, but do I know at least one thing about each and every one of you. Not one of you is perfect! Hell, I'm not even perfect and I'm the Love Doctor. (Else, I wouldn't be writing this column in the middle of the night). All of us have lots of room for improvement. This room for improvement should be considered a gift. Imagine if you could never hope to be better than you are now. Some of you would be doomed to some pretty miserable lives, but such is not the case. We all can become better than we are.

This is the key to the second part of commitment. I once saw an attitude expressed on a Tee shirt worn by a particularly "bad" little boy whose mother was dutifully dragging him around a shopping mall. On the tee shirt was written, "God's not finished with me yet!" What a truth! If only we would all adopt that saying as our attitude toward ourselves. We would accept the possibility for improvement in ourselves. We could hope for a better future. We could set higher goals for ourselves. We could achieve more for ourselves and those we love. We would accept the necessity for change in our lives, because guess what! The only way to improve anything is to change it.

Many relationships fail because the folks involved are too busy finding faults with one other, rather than spending time looking for ways to improve themselves. If you look for ways to improve yourself, two things will happen to improve your life. First you will find many ways to improve your relationship, business or your performance on the job or in school, simply, by becoming a better you. Second, you will see so many imperfections in yourself that it will become easier to accept the imperfections of others.

Well, there we have it. Done! I have kept my commitment to you and my editor and I feel pretty good about myself. Hmm, I wonder if "Boo" is sleeping yet.