Every once in a while, it is an excellent idea to step back and reflect on what you are truly committed to in your life. Take a moment, now, to think about what is most important to you. Is it family, a passion, a certain relationship, a hobby, connecting with people, ambition, travel, your work etc. Next, really think about why this is important to you – go a bit deeper. Is it Love, Connection, Creativity etc. you are most committed to?
Now, connect these core values and feelings you want with how you are currently spending your time. Do a little assessment of what you are honoring right now. Are you involved with things that don’t at all match up with what your values? We can often get stuck in this trap – doing things out of obligation, ‘shoulds’ or just because we started and then didn’t really check in to see if this really served us.
Now, let’s do a little experiment about the difference between ‘commitment’ and ‘obligation. Imagine, now, that there is an event this evening that you are going to. Scenario A: you said Yes to the event because you felt obligated. Perhaps someone important to you invited you and wants you to go or perhaps you feel like you ‘should’ for some other external reason. Now, just notice how that feels. What does your body feel like when you tap into going and being there? What kind of energy do you think you are exuding when you are there?
OK, now Scenario B: you said Yes to the event because you are truly interested in the subject matter/cause. You’re not sure what will come out of the event, but you feel an excitement about it. Notice how this feels. What does your body feel like when you tap into going there and being there? And what kind of energy will you exude while you’re there?
What did you notice? And which energy would you like to be spreading & living?
Now there may be times that there is a fine line between commitment & obligation at times – it could be that something feels like obligation, but then when you uncover what’s underneath it, you see that there is something you ARE committed to there. This could be a relationship, a future goal, etc. When you uncover that commitment, the energy shifts and it no longer feels simply like an obligation (because it’s not). But when you are doing something purely out of obligation, no one wins. You certainly don’t win if you’re doing something you aren’t committed to and the people around you don’t win because your energy is fueled by obligation. Would you want people around you who are fueled by obligation? That doesn’t feel good for anyone.
We’ve been conditioned with lots of rules around obligation so this might take a bit of exploration. That’s fine! Be gentle. Ask yourself some questions about what you are choosing to fill your time with. Check in with how you feel before you say Yes to something (or afterwards). With a little practice, you can add this Commitment vs. Obligation Tool to your Self-Care Toolbox – honoring what you are committed to is certainly an act of True Self Care. And I can assure you that much more peace will come as a result. Feel free to share thoughts or comments below in the Reply box.