I can t commit to anything

I can’t commit to anything, I feel no eagerness to live | Relationships

The question I have reached a point in my life where I am having to make the major commitments expected, like marriage, homeownership and children. Decisions that shape your life. I recently chose to end a relationship and step away from buying a house, though, because I felt unable to commit wholeheartedly. In some ways, it only felt I reached those significant events because it was forced upon me rather than getting excited and choosing for myself. It’s not that I don’t take a plunge – sometimes I have to, after all I have to live somewhere. But it always seems to be someone else doing the deciding. I just don’t have any eagerness or desire for anything.

The more I think about it, the more I feel that I have this across my whole life and for all my life. I have a very short-term outlook where I can look forward to small things, like a holiday or starting a new job. But I can’t look forward to anything that has future implications. I never stay with an employer for a long time, or even commit to a savings plan.

Am I expecting too much, or is this just what life is? What is wrong with me?

Philippa’s answer You asked, “What’s wrong with me?” I never like that question, I prefer “What happened to me and how did I survive?” Somehow something or someone stole the steering wheel of your life and your job is to get it back. You talk about ending a major relationship and stepping away from buying a house, but you don’t tell me how you felt about that. Was it a relief? Or was it nothing? Do you miss the other person? Are you sad? Happy?

I’m also wondering whether you got a strong set of rules from your early life, maybe from your parents or from your culture, that life should be lived a certain way. Perhaps you have never learned to know your own feelings, only these “shoulds”. I get a hint of your “shoulds” by the assumption that there is a time in life to settle down. Who says? Not you by the sound of it.

You assume that there is a time in life when you 'should' settle down. Who says so? Not you by the sound of it

I’m wondering whether your feelings were taken seriously when you were an infant. Whether you could want anything and, if you could, whether you were allowed to go for it, or ask for it. In sum, I’m wondering whether the habit of being told by others what you want and what you need and what you should do, left your feelings redundant early on, so you unconsciously closed them down. If we cannot feel, it is impossible to know what we want and if we don’t know what we desire, how can we aim for it? The pros of repressing all emotion, of turning into stone, is that you cannot be hurt; the price is that it’s not really living. You ask: “Is this just what life is?” which made me wonder whether you are disconnected from your feelings, from your own self.

Sometimes people believe there are two types of feelings – closed down or out of control – and when they fear the latter they choose the former. But you don’t have to choose between head and heart, you can have both. Your head can listen to your heart and take it into consideration when making, or not making, decisions. To discover what it is you do desire, I believe you will have to close down head a tiny bit, and open up heart a tiny bit.

Sometimes we freeze as we fear making the wrong choice – is this you? It feels like we might avoid mistakes if we don’t make decisions. But not making a decision is still a choice and it may, like other choices, be the wrong one. I believe it is impossible to really know whether a choice is the right one without hindsight – and none of us has that. Mistakes and failures are learning opportunities. In psychotherapy we sometimes call them “another bloody fucking learning opportunity”.

I’m wondering whether the idea of another person impacting you, influencing you, is abhorrent. Do you fear being taken over? This might not apply to you, but I have noticed that when someone is very rigid and cannot let anyone in, or at least not for long, they still continue to let in the very old beliefs or even the people who instilled them in the first place, which makes it difficult, although not impossible, to change tack. In short, I’m wondering whether you are still somehow trapped in your childhood. What would happen if you lessened the impact of your earliest experiences and allowed yourself to be more present in the here and now?

I’ve read and re-read your email and it affects me in a certain way. I wonder if you in real life affect the people around you in the same way. Because you say you feel no eagerness for any decision or commitment, my urge is to say, try this or have you tried that? Which is a problem because then you get saddled with plans that aren’t your idea so you can’t commit to them. So I won’t say try psychotherapy to find out who you are and what you want, I won’t say try Buddhism because they believe desire is the root of suffering, instead I’ll stick with give yourself time to feel, then find your own way.

Philippa Perry In Conversation With You, live at the Barbican, London, on 7 September. For tickets go to barbican.org.uk

If you have a question, send a brief email to askphilippa@observer. co.uk

This is why you can't commit to anything

Commitment — either in relationships or life decisions — is a scary word for some people, and measures taken to combat the stigma attached to this word aren’t exactly supported by our surroundings. With emerging apps such as Tinder and reality television shows making the centuries old practice of courtship taboo, our society is encouraged to engage in one-night stands and the pursuit of a “no-strings attached” relationship filled with emotionless and frivolous sex. We are not aware of the detrimental effect this has on the youth because we’re all victims, and I myself can attest to this because I may be the biggest culprit. Nonetheless, I’ve begun to make myself aware, and in doing so, I’ve realized a few things about how we sabotage ourselves to remain commitment-free.
Some people may be happy living life with no commitments and no relationships, but I’m convinced those one night hook-ups are just temporary fixes. I don’t believe that anyone can truly be content with that lifestyle. Maybe you’re happy now, but each hook up will be less and less satisfying until you eventually realize how soulless and disassociated from humanity you’ve become. In regards to life changes, you often hear people when they say, “I’m stuck in a rut”, but what does that mean? Einstein describes insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.” so instead of complaining about being stuck, do something about it.
1. You feel vulnerable
Humans are a proud species, and we continuously strive for meaning and purpose for our own lives in such a capacity that it can be considered vain. They feel a benevolent being or force has created a single plan just for themselves as a reward for devotion, but that’s an argument for another time. We as human beings have a tendency to be selfish, entitled, and fall into pride — which isn’t always bad, but too much of it, will leave you falling back into the life you are trying to get away from.
Solution: Here’s the thing about being afraid to be wrong — how else will you ever be right? Scientists are wrong hundreds of times before they get something right, so why can’t you be? We’ll never stop learning, thus we can only grow by letting ourselves be vulnerable from time to time and picking our battles. Of course one must be careful, but you should still take risks and allow yourself to be vulnerable — even if you wind up being wrong about that person, at least you did your part.
2. The pursuit of “something better”
If you’re anything like most people I’ve met, you’re very competitive. Competition is natural for us because we’re animals and it’s part of our nature to be in competition with each other. We will always be on this life-long pursuit of “something better,” whether it’s by traveling, a new career path, a new significant other, or even a change in lifestyle.
Solution: You don’t always need to drop one thing in exchange for the other; you can travel with a significant other or you can change your lifestyle by pursuing a new career. Ultimately, commitments don’t have to be treated like trading cards. You may think there’s someone out there whose better than what you have but the same goes for them. That person chose you so don’t be an ass and drop them when you think you can “upgrade.
3. Unrealistic expectations
We are creatures of habit, and we either crave what we can’t have or we create a checklist inspired by a combination of the media and the general public depicting the “perfect” relationship with the “perfect” person. We forget that Boy Meets World was only a television show, and the storyline between Cory and Topanga was created by multiple writers (if that reference went over your head you’re too young to be reading this anyway).
Solution: Checklists are for grocery shopping, not people, and we have to limit the effect of third party applications on our lives. To put it simply, if you like it, then do it! Commitment doesn’t have to be as daunting as we make it out to be. Don’t wait to find that person or thing that you think is “perfect”because it fits your criteria. (I’m sorry to say this, but chances are they don’t exist.)
4. Time
Have you ever been shopping and seen something you really liked, but you didn’t buy it because of a subpar reason you gave yourself? Have you done this only to find yourself back at that store hours, days, or weeks later, buying or missing out on that exact same thing? That’s exactly what you’re doing when you say, “I have time, I’m only 20-something”.
Solution: Don’t put off committing to something or someone you feel strongly about because you’re too young, you’re not ready, or because someone told you to wait. Regret is something a lot of people experience every day and time is something you can’t ever get back, so why waste it because you told yourself that you had time? Time doesn’t wait for you, so don’t wait for it.
5, Feeling “trapped”
How many times have you heard someone say, “I feel stuck” or “I’m suffocating”? Well, I’ve heard so many variations of that sentiment, that it all means nothing to me. People tend to be over-dramatic and in western society, complaining is unequivocally the most prominent method of conversing. Complaining is like the Socratic method of elenchus for 20-somethings, and substance is far from present.
Solution: Don’t just complain about being trapped and go about your day like you normally would. Go out and change something, meet new people, and learn new things. Commit to something and stick it out, whether that’s dating someone new or taking a pottery course — it doesn’t matter — because you’re never trapped as much as you think you are.
6. Letting the past predict the future
Everyone I know, including me, has self-prescribed anxiety and we all believe that there are deep-rooted issues that cause us to have commitment issues or which create the anxiety that causes us to end things before they begin. We all have experiences and the past is a significant factor in how we conduct ourselves in the present or future. Experiences work like shock therapy; you get burned enough times and you naturally become conditioned to stop doing it.
Solution: We all want to believe that the reason for our issues can be explained by a chemical imbalance we can’t control, but in reality, we’ve just been conditioned to sabotage our own relationships and life choices. The logic we use allows for no margin of error; for instance, if we get burned by enough tall girls the next tall girl that comes along doesn’t even get a chance because subconsciously we sabotage the potential relationship before it can even begin. Read that out loud to yourself, and tell yourself that doesn’t sound stupid… exactly. Don’t dwell on the past it’s there for a reason and that reason is to help you deal with your future.
7. You’re “too busy”
Like many people, you probably think you have no time for any new commitments, and you’re just too busy to be bothered with taking time to genuinely connect with someone or some thing. You constantly tell yourself, “when I have more time,” you’ll do it — but deep down, you propbaly know that you will never have more time.
Solution: Can you be any more cliché? There is no such thing as “too busy”, and you’re an idiot. Do what every other smart person does and compartmentalize different aspects of your life. Not everything is related, and you shouldn’t treat them that way. The art of disassociation can be easy if you want it to be, just don’t blame problems in your life on unrelated things. It’s all about managing your time, and cutting out the negative things in your life. There are many ways to do this: make lists, schedules or calendars in order to help you organize your time efficiently.
source: thoughtcatalog.com

How to take responsibility for your life

December 3, 2022 Life

Learn to expand the circle of influence, define the circle of care - and new horizons will open before you.

You can listen to the article. If it's more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.

You've probably heard this advice more than once: “Just stop whining and take matters into your own hands! Everything will change abruptly, you'll see! Problems will be solved - and happiness will come.

But how exactly to do this and what is generally meant by this, almost no one says. So the advice turns out to be useless, like advice in the spirit of "just don't pay attention" or "just eat right and exercise."

Understanding what it means to "take responsibility", why it is sometimes very difficult and how to finally do it.

Why you need to take responsibility

It helps to become more confident

A person who is responsible for his life understands what really depends on him and what does not, realizes the limits of his capabilities and becomes a little stronger and freer.

It helps to set goals and achieve them

When you realize that you are far from being helpless and that you can influence a lot, you get the motivation and courage to move forward and change something.

A person who does not take responsibility year after year scolds neighbors, utilities, officials, the city or country in which he lives, and believes that nothing depends on him.

Many paths open up before the person who has taken responsibility. First, move. Secondly, try to change the situation as much as possible, at least a little: organize a subbotnik to make things cleaner, go to court and enforce your rights, create a petition and fight for legal reform. Thirdly, he can honestly admit to himself that he is not ready for active actions and changes - and consciously leave everything as it is, but already without complaints.

It helps to cope with uncertainty

A person who goes with the flow and lives with the certainty that he does not decide anything is actually very difficult. After all, then it turns out that life is absolutely unpredictable and can play with you as it pleases, and you are not able to do anything about it.

When someone takes responsibility, there is a little more certainty. Some unpleasant situations can be prevented, and in others, you can act more confidently and deal with them faster.

Let's say a person realizes that the economic situation is deteriorating and he may lose his job. Those who do not take responsibility will live in fear, complain, worry that they will be left without money, and wait in horror for how everything will end. After all, it doesn’t affect anything, it’s all a crisis, politics and a boss.

The one who is responsible can start looking for a job, learn something new to increase their value, or get a part-time job, save some money, or at least learn how to join the labor exchange in case of emergency and receive benefits for unemployment.

This helps create more harmonious relationships

The person who takes responsibility can choose their environment, set personal boundaries, talk about things they don't like, steer the relationship in the right direction, or end it if it's not enjoyable .

The one who does not accept responsibility thinks that everything is going as it is, nothing can be done, and he simply attracts the wrong people.

Why is it so difficult to take responsibility

We confuse responsibility and control

There is an opinion that these are one and the same thing, and being responsible means controlling everything and everyone in your life. This, of course, is impossible. We have no control over the weather, oil prices or the neighbor's dog that barks at night and disturbs our sleep. As a result, the idea of ​​responsibility seems absurd and utopian - and the person refuses it.

We confuse responsibility and guilt

It seems like “taking responsibility” is the same as admitting that you yourself are to blame for all your failures. And no one wants to feel guilty, it's unpleasant. Therefore, a person goes on the defensive and takes this position: “I’m not to blame for anything, that’s all they are - bad heredity, stupid ecology, huge traffic jams, corrupt officials, mercantile women and the roads are still terrible. ” And, of course, does not try to change anything.

We suffer from learned helplessness

Scientist Martin Seligman wrote about this condition back in the 1970s. Because of it, it just seems to us that we are powerless to change something in our life, because we do not influence anything.

Where this state comes from is not exactly known. There are two opinions: this is an innate quality, or, conversely, acquired due to not very correct upbringing or a series of past failures.

For example, during experiments, people were forced to listen to unpleasant sounds and could not avoid it. As a result, they lost motivation and no longer tried to escape from uncomfortable conditions.

What does it mean to take responsibility

This certainly does not mean that you need to declare yourself omnipotent and try to control everything and everyone. Or, on the contrary, sprinkle ashes on your head and assume that you are to blame for every trouble that has happened to you.

To be responsible is to understand what you can and cannot do, to be aware of and accept the consequences of your actions or inaction, and to take an active position whenever possible.

Stephen Covey, best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, expressed this idea with the Two Circle Theory: Influence and Caring.

The circle of influence is the people and events that a person can influence. The circle of care is everything that affects a person. In order to live better and more joyfully, one should try to expand the first and reduce the second.

For example, a person is looking for a job, sends out a resume, but no one answers him. It turns out that his circle of influence is small: all that remains for him is to view vacancies and leave feedback. And the circle of concern, on the contrary, is large: it is completely in the power of fate and HR specialists.

If this person wants to take responsibility and expand his circle of influence, he can, for example, not post a resume on a site with vacancies, but send it to the company's corporate mail. He can call Human Resources and see if his letter has been reviewed. He can turn to a career consultant who will correct his resume and tell you in which direction to move.

How to take responsibility

Try not to blame

Recognize that blaming yourself or others is not constructive. This position allows you to remain inactive and saves you from disappointments, because if you do not try to change anything, you will not fail and you will not be hurt by it. But at the same time, it closes the path to development, good work, interesting projects and acquaintances, and unexpected turns.

Yes, it is true that people around you are to blame for something. Parents did not give a good start and formed complexes in the child. The workers are patching up the asphalt and that's why there are terrible traffic jams on the way to the office in the morning. The boss evaluates your merits biasedly and promotes not you, but his friend, up the career ladder.

But if you focus on what others are doing, and not on what you can do yourself, you are marking time and cannot change your life for the better.

Define your circle of influence

Just be honest with yourself, don't underestimate or exaggerate your abilities. Write down everything that you can really influence in each specific situation, and what you can’t at all.

We can't cancel the rain, but we can buy a cool raincoat and rubber boots that will make it more comfortable to leave the house. Or find a remote job to stay warm and cozy in bad weather.

We cannot change the behavior of the person who offends us, but we can distance ourselves from him.

Set a goal for yourself

In the job and resume mailing example, the goal could be, say, contacting an HR consultant, finding direct company contacts, or making a phone call.

In a situation where you don't like where you live, the goal may be to move to another area, city, or even country. Or, on the contrary, an attempt to find interesting institutions, events and locations around you that will reconcile you with your place of residence and help you feel better. Yes, traffic jams are terrible and the view from the window is not very good, but what magic croissants are baked in a coffee shop around the corner and what a picturesque square just two bus stops from the house.

Take action

Once you achieve at least a small goal, you will become more confident, better understand what you are capable of, which means you can overcome the feeling of helplessness and make your life more comfortable and fulfilling.

Read also 🧐

  • 3 ways to change your life for the better and enjoy every day
  • How to overcome the fear of the unknown and quickly achieve your goals
  • Do you want to change your life for the better? Breathe Deeply
  • To change your life, talk about it differently

"I'm afraid of responsibility..." | PSYCHOLOGIES


Career and Self-RealizationKnow Yourself

“Maybe it sounds strange, but the very word “responsibility” annoys me,” admits 35-year-old bachelor Alexander. - Literally: the whole body tenses up. I do not want to think that someone will depend on me. For example, if a woman demands some kind of commitment from me, I just start to suffocate, I feel like I'm stuck in an elevator.

Fear of being judged, of losing independence, of being responsible for one's actions, desires, choices made... There are many ways to avoid responsibility, but it is almost always caused by anxiety, which can turn into a real phobia. The psychological dictionary calls the fear of responsibility "hypengiophobia".

The reason is in the genes?

“Responsibility in the professional, family or moral sphere is undoubtedly a source of stress,” emphasizes the French clinical psychologist Régine Frankel. “However, new discoveries in psychobiology, in particular the work of Jerome Kagan, a researcher from Harvard University (USA), show something else.

Approximately 20% of people already at birth have neurochemical characteristics that make them hypersensitive to both stress and any innovations. Due to hereditary factors, the part of their brain that controls fear is hyper-reactive and "panics" at the slightest alarm. In situations where they have to discuss their actions with others, when there is a chance of being judged, anxiety arises in them too quickly and powerfully. Hence the natural desire to avoid such situations.

So, the inability to take responsibility is in the genes? “Let's put it this way: like any other aspect of our behavior, it is associated with various factors, including this one,” says Regine Frankel.

“It seemed to me that they would beat me”

Anna, 34 years old, assistant producer At the institute. But when I told myself it was time to take the initiative, I broke out in a cold sweat. It was already like that in childhood: my mother left me with my younger brother. When she returned, she found him in tears and whipped me.

For me being in charge of something meant being beaten. My friend helped me figure this out. She said that she considers me a reliable person and appreciates me for it. I realized that people can have a positive view of me. I found a job that meets my desires and abilities. And no one spanked me!”

Fear of a mistake and refusal to answer for it

Anton refuses a leadership position: it is more comfortable for him to be a performer. Roman believes that his girlfriend is responsible for all the problems of their couple. Marina blames others in any conflict. Three different forms of behavior aimed at one thing - to hide their own shortcomings.

A person who constantly expects to be accused of something and unconsciously considers himself guilty. It seems to sound like a stern parental voice in it: “You are worthless, bad, you will not achieve anything in life and must be punished.” In psychoanalysis, this unanswerable inner voice is called the Superego. Its strength depends on how much parental prohibitions influenced us in childhood.

The more a person idealizes his inflexible father or perfectionist mother, the more often he feels like a target for other people's assessments, feeling that the “sentence” has been pronounced on him in advance. And, of course, I am sure that I am not worthy to take an adult, responsible position - this role is unconsciously assigned to dad and mom, and all that remains for him is unquestioning submission or flight.

What to do?

Be more indulgent with yourself

An unconscious craving for perfection often lies behind the refusal to take responsibility. What are its origins? Our parents never praised us or demanded too much. As a result, we believed: “To be loved, I must be perfect. And if you do not take responsibility, then no one will notice my weaknesses.

It is very important to realize that perfection in this world is unattainable. And it's better to make mistakes from time to time than to do nothing at all.

Reconsider your beliefs

Many people imagine that by running away from responsibility, they keep their freedom. It's a delusion. Your actions, your consciousness (with all its problems and blocks), the love that you have for you or that you dream about - if you are not responsible for all this, then someone else is responsible. Someone that you... are completely dependent on.

Look into your fears

Becoming responsible means having the courage to speak up and accept the consequences of your actions. As long as we see the problem in all its global scale, it overwhelms us. Instead of constantly thinking, "I don't want responsibility," ask yourself, "What am I afraid of? At what moments is it especially painful for me to take it upon myself?

How to help a person become more responsible?

Does he not keep his promises? Does she change minds like gloves without realizing it? By denouncing such people as unreliable and inconsistent, you will only assume the role of their harsh "Super-I". But it is precisely from his power that they are desperately trying to elude with the help of irresponsible behavior.

Calmly show your interlocutor the inconsistency of his actions, moving him to greater responsibility for his words. Perhaps his problem is that he has been treated like a child for too long, from whom there is little demand.

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