The stories of American minority groups seems to be those of progress towards full social equality; underscored with the scenario of two steps forward and one step back. When each success is finally achieved, we wait for the other shoe to drop. With each setback, the emotional impact is traumatizing to the point where there becomes a degree of cynicism, internalization, fatalism, and the expectation that further efforts are futile.
This ratcheting of civil and human rights is stressful to the commitment of the community. Then we remember that demoralization is exactly what our adversaries wish upon us. I reflect upon commitment at the close of this year’s Pride Month. Not only how it applies to the LGBTQ community, but also how it applies to people in general.
The love, respect, and support of family and friends is key to success in our relationships and endeavors. Mutual loyalty and respect foster strong commitment to one another in life. Commitment is the glue of partnership and civilization. Without it, society risks falling into chaos.
We observe that business ventures, family structure, and social groups rely upon a critical mass of people eager and willing to enter into collaborations and deep partnerships. The trust and commitment enable the social structure to grow and proliferate. This has been known and practiced for millenia. History shows that committed people influence the direction of major social institutions and important events such as wars.
Individually, a person has the responsibility to keep her or his space liveable and viable regarding personal resources. These include not only material items, but psychological resources, and setting aside time and mental energy towards doing onerous tasks when we would rather be doing something more pleasurable. Maintaining a basic commitment towards these responsilities helps to foster a positive, healthy, sharing relationship with a significant other or spouse. Again, this is basic knowledge that has been known and practiced throughout the years. Yes, it is helpful to remind ourselves of this from time to time.
When we make a forthright commitment, we stand by it to make it succeed. When we become friends, lovers, partners, and leaders, the important ingredients are our honor and trustworthiness. It is this respect that bolsters commitment. Again, this is true for everyone, including those of us who belong to minority communities.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century American existential psychologist and author, Rollo May. “The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it’s not without doubt but in spite of doubt.”