Updated: Apr 6, 2022
It never made sense to me. Why do we have to feel obligated? It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. There are many types of obligations and what I’m referring to here are interpersonal and familial obligations...things you are just supposed to do when you never had a choice either way. Who is so bold to assign you these obligations, seemingly written in stone? And, do we have to follow them?
For example, maybe you are obligated to buy certain people gifts or attend certain gatherings. This feeling of “obligation” isn’t always a pleasant one. I don't believe you should be with people you don’t want to be with, out of supposed obligation, especially when it may be practicing self-care if you say no.
It is as if the duty is hanging over your head and if you don’t do what you are expected to you must battle guilt and shame. But if you do it, then you may be abandoning yourself and what you truly want and need.
It is important to take care of our energy and well-being. And if our obligations do not align with that, then following them doesn’t seem like such a great idea, now does it? Let's use our discernment and think about how it will make us feel and if it is worth that price.
I mean, sure, some things that you are obligated to do may be things you want to or love to do—awesome! Or maybe they are things you promised you would do, and so then you should do them. But when something is expected of you and it is just assumed that you will follow some unspoken rule; it is actually not fair that you are somehow responsible for doing it. You may even be crossing your own boundaries without realizing it and that can bring up feelings of anger, rage, and resentment.
If someone feels like they are obligated to give me a gift, I would rather not have the gift. If they feel like they are part of my family, and it is understood that giving gifts is part of their moral obligation, and that is the only reason for it, then I do not want it. Why would I? In this instance they are not giving from their heart. However, if you are a part of my family and experience a genuine connection with me, or if you feel thoughtful and would like to give me something because it reminded you of me and you know I would be fond of it, I would love that.
Where is the gift coming from? What is the intention behind it? If it is loving and pure, give me gifts! If there are strings attached to it and you think that now I have to do what you believe I am obligated to do, or if you feel like you are fulfilling some expectation from a long line of ancestors who have fulfilled all of their obligations, please save your money. If I truly feel to do something, give, or be in the company of people—I certainly will and no one will have to wonder about my intentions.
If we begrudgingly put ourselves around those who are discouraging, doubtful, or just not very nice, this can definitely put a damper on our self-expression and dim the light of what really matters to us.
I am of the belief that you should never feel forced or pressured to give something that is not from the heart. Would you want to receive something that someone only bought for you because they had to? If you do, can I please ask you why? I really want to know. Think of the feelings and thoughts you have had when you did something because just because you were supposed to. Do you really want to receive from someone who is giving from that place?
What if you are obligated to attend a certain function and you go, even though it sucks the life out of you, just to keep up appearances? This is not even healthy! You know that everyone will be all upset with you if you don’t do it. You also know that if you do, the same people will not actually appreciate your presence there. So, sadly, you don’t really win either way.
What if you don’t consent to something you are expected to do? We are often inculcated from an early age to adopt certain behaviors or beliefs. Why does someone have the right to impose this on you? They do not. It is time to start saying “no” to these unwanted duties. It may not be popular. In fact, it definitely isn’t. But it is an essential step to freeing yourself energetically and building healthy boundaries that will serve you moving forward in your life. My life definitely changed when I started saying "no".
These unfortunate obligatory dynamics are at the core of many familial structures and, by my observation, it honestly drives people apart, subconsciously. If you are doing things solely because you are obligated, you certainly won’t have a sense of safety or comfort with people who feel that it is your duty to be around them whether you like it or not. Furthermore, they definitely won’t have a warm feeling while they are buying the gift or inviting you to the function.
If you are doing things solely because you are obligated, you certainly won’t have a sense of safety or comfort with people who feel that it is your duty to be around them whether you like it or not.
On the other hand, obligated or not, if we truly feel like we want to give that gift or spend time with those people, it will be a wonderful experience that happens organically and will be very pleasant for all involved.
For me, if I do not feel comfortable, you will not see me doing it. Not anymore. It is a practice of self-love, Energy management, and self-care. Unfortunately, if we begrudgingly put ourselves around those who are discouraging, doubtful, or just not very nice, this can definitely put a damper on our self-expression and dim the light of who we are and what really matters to us.
Relax on the obligation. Let giving and receiving happen naturally.