Too often it isn’t choices we made but rather ones made for us by someone, by some group-think or determined by our history and upbringing.
Many obligations are simple – familiar dates on calendars when we committed (or someone committed us) to do something. Some cultural ‘sense of obligation’ things from work, organizations, family, church and convention. We remember birthdays, attend holiday celebrations – not so much out of conscious choice because we want to be there but because of learned sense of obligation that we are required and/or expected to be there. Like holiday meals, annual meetings of organizations, the committee meeting, board meetings or ‘we all meet on a regular basis’ commitments.
We all do this.
It’s mostly fun, regular and predictable – unless it feels like we are forced to attend/participate against our will. Obligations are an emotional trick played on us by many people, by society and worst of all – by ourselves. Here’s the real deal: everything is a choice!
Choice to do something because we have to isn’t choice – it’s being slave to other people’s expectations or our need to be compliant/cooperative. The calendar reminder is just that, a reminder.
What are we reminded of?
And how does that feel?
Choosing to feel, to not feel, to care or not care – now we are getting into real choices that mean something. An obligation is a choice – but a choice is never an obligation. It’s choice. Whether habit-formed auto-response or thoughtful one, it’s still and always a choice.
Free choice, without obligation, is a choice that is free.
Mark, Very touching story today. I had a very similar experience 7 years ago. Something you never, ever forget. At times is seems like it was so long ago, at other times as if it was yesterday, DA, Toronto, ON
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