Okay so this is one of those:
“WOW I had to learn this the really fucking hard way, and it took me so long to finally see it clearly, and Jesus Christo if I can assist even one human from avoiding the excruciating pitfalls that come with subscribing to a life of OBLIGATION then I will go to my grave rallying against that bulllllshittttt.”
To put it bluntly: Obligation is a poison.
Consistently forcing yourself to do something, anything, if it’s misaligned with your values, contrary to your true desires, and/or in opposition to your highest good (simply because you feel like you “have to” do it) is a long-term recipe for all-around disaster.
For a long time I prided myself on my ability to power through things and keep every single commitment I made, no exceptions.
I was CAPTAIN MEETS-EXPECTATIONS-AND-ALWAYS-FOLLOWS-THROUGH. I was a gold-start employee and good little girl who knew the assignment.
I had “grit”, as they say. I could fake-it-til-you-make-it and phone-it-in with the best of them.
I thought doing so made me a good, reliable, valuable person.
In reality, it just made me an exhausted, resentful, liar.
I would perpetuate and nurture long-expired friendships and dysfunctional relationship dynamics simply because I felt like I had no choice. (And honestly, I was too chicken-shit to admit that nope, I don’t wanna do this anymore.)
I would persist with projects that felt “off”, and try to keep up with commitments despite it feeling like a slogging, uphill battle. (It was just a slogging, uphill battle I had gotten used to, so it felt sadly “normal” to be drained, frustrated, and at my wit’s end much of the time.)
I worshipped at the Church of Obligation, to the detriment of my own health and sanity.
Ultimately, I had to uncork all my bottled up resentment and faulty decision-making and admit:
Nope. I don’t wanna go to that thing. Or take that meeting. Or hit that deadline.
I can’t continue to nurse this threadbare connection at the cost of my personal peace.
Nope, nope, nope. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Lots of hard conversations. Because acting out of obligation was no longer an option.
I cannot stress this hard-learned sentiment enough: Your life-force is yours and no one else’s.
And if you feel obligated to show up for people or things that are compromising your well-being or depleting the fuck outta you, for any reason, I invite you to question what the effing eff is going on there.
Where did you learn that?
Who modeled this practice for you?
And what is life going to look like in the next five, ten, or twenty years if you keep that shit up?
When something becomes intolerable or stops feeling true to nurture and pursue — I have learned to PAY ATTENTION TO THAT.
I’ve learned to slow down. Go inward. And make moves from a space of deep truth and knowing, versus being pulled around by external expectations.
Which, to be 100% clear, is not a popular decision to begin enacting in your life…
Our world runs on individuals who are willing to be manipulated by pressures of obligation and submit to the lie of “you have to”, in order to maintain the status quo.
I’m here for the women who have had enough.
Because I’ve learned from my personal experience that none of these unhelpful habits and patterns are particularly “popular” to reject and shed.
In choosing to slow down…
In refusing to fake it any longer…
In breaking up with obligation and have-to’s…
I’ve disappointed people, lost friends, had my heart broken, had strangers get angry with me, and seen loved ones try to manipulate me in creative, backwards ways.
I’ve said no to shiny opportunities, and big pay-days, and comfort zones, and an entire life I had built that no longer made sense for me.
None of it has been particularly fun or easy.
BUT GAHT DAMMIT. As a result?
I’VE NEVER BEEN MORE FULLY FUCKING ALIVE.
My life looks nothing like I ever thought it would. (And, as these things tend to go, it’s better than I ever could have predicted or imagined.)
But I had to be willing to shed a lot of who I thought I was “supposed to be”, and what I thought I “should be doing”, to uncover the freedom and power I get to experience now.