Engagement. This is such a fascinating word. The Merriam Webster dictionary states that it has many meanings: 1) to denote a time to meet or get together 2) something that engages (for example a pledge) 3) the state of being in gear 4) emotional involvement or commitment 5) a hostile encounter of two military forces.
Wow! What a wide range of situations it covers!
At times, it seems to be a modern word. Everyone in business and organizational leadership talks of engaging others. Other times, it seems so old as I see fewer young people getting engaged.
In all of the definitions, there is an inference of contact between either two people, two things (gears), or two battalions. In the case of the gear, a pledge, a time to meet and the confrontation of two military forces, engagement is instant. When it happens you are “engaged”. The word defines a specific point in time. They don’t describe anything before or after that point in time.
What is fascinating to me is how the definition of engagement that describes emotional involvement and commitment has taken on the “flavor” of instant, of happening only at a specific moment in time. Our patterns of communication and our calendars don’t allow us the freedom to engage, over time, a relationship that grows in depth and meaning.
We allow our enjoyment of “instant” to degrade what we are capable of achieving. We should stop thinking that only rich people invest and begin to understand that each one of us should invest more each day in others. That we should invest more in areas where we ourselves want to be engaged in and grow. Investing takes time. It is never “instant”.
Being engaged is truly the right word to describe two people in love that have committed themselves to each other prior to marriage. It describes them as having a high emotional involvement in each other. Both of them recognize this and commit to deepening their relationship over time. (In this “setting” there is no concept of instant. Marriage implies a lifetime not a moment.)
Engagement brings us energy and life. It brings us closer to our work and those around us. It makes life much easier when we are engaged. Time passes much quicker. There are many more things around us that feel new, different and interesting.
Again, you will not find any fireworks when you feel engaged. Only a sense that you fit, that you are able, and that you can enjoy. Will you make the time to try?
PS. This is a skill I have always admired in others. As I have gotten older I try harder to work at developing my skills in this area further. I forgot to mention that when you engage, it should not be all about “me” but about the other person. There has to be some balance as well as some room to let the other person “engage” as well.