Hello Friends and Happy Truth Thursday!
A late night conversation with a friend inspired this post. During the phone call, I really wanted to go to sleep, but I didn't say. So I stayed on the call till she was done talking. It all stemmed from a false sense of obligation. Why did I feel the need to ignore my tiredness? So that I could feel good? Or feel like a nice person or an available friend? Essentially it was less about her and more about my wanting not to have the appearance of being a bad friend. She hadn't begged me to stay up. She called because she felt like talking and I didn't say or indicate that I was unavailable to talk at the time.
Feeling obliged to someone else, at your own risk, is not a good thing for you or your relationships with people. It plays to the egotistical part of you that thinks you are absolutely needed. You might not consciously think of it this way. On the contrary, you might believe you are being nice, but really, it is just your ego speaking. It is the ego that sees you are tired and need rest but says "no, I must go and babysit for my brother because, without me, my brother has no one else to babysit. I am needed."
The fact of the matter is that your brother will make a plan with or without you. He will seek his best interests. So if you are the easiest and most convenient person available, he will surely ask you to babysit. It is for you to say yes or no. Think about it, If you did not live in the same city as your brother, won't he get a babysitter if he needed to? The fact to remember is that you are not indispensable. When you leave this earth, another will take your place and you will become forgotten by most people, the same ones you are afraid to offend or disappoint. Don't forget that.
The ego does not want to think of itself as indispensable and so it hides under the guise of kindness, consideration, generosity etc. Do not be mistaken, there are those that perform truly kind, considerate and generous acts, but the difference is that their embodiment of these traits doesn't go against their will. They are being kind, considerate and generous because they want to be, not because they feel obliged to be.
Don't do things out of obligation
It is a wasted effort, because at the end of the day, what matters is your intention. You can see it in the difference between people who eat vegetables because they love their bodies and people who eat vegetables because they don't. Only one group of vegetable-eaters have sustainable habits. The rest will fall back into the behaviour that shows their true relationship with their bodies. The honest intention behind your actions matters
Learn to say no until you are ready to say yes, if at all.
It is very difficult to say no, especially when you aren't sure of yourself, or sure for yourself, what it is that you want. Learning about yourself is one way to self-love and care. The journey to loving yourself is not always an easy one because there are so many people telling you how to do it when you simply need to learn for yourself.
A good place to start is by noticing when you do things out of obligation and when you do things out of a genuine desire to do them- for yourself and others. Start with being aware. When we become aware of things and see the truth for what it really is, we naturally tend to begin adjusting our behaviours. It isn't automatic and we will likely fall back into our sense of obligation, but the awareness is a great step forward in itself.
It is important to do the things you desire to do, not those you feel obligated to do. It might seem selfish, but it is not. At the end of the day, the person asking is looking out for himself or herself. Just because you acquiesce even when you don't want to, does not make you selfless. It just makes you a person that is unable to stand up for himself or herself.
True generosity is from the heart.
All else is pretence and deceit - of self and of others.
So be honest with yourself and those around you. It helps you build and maintain better relationships.