Obligation or Freedom – Have To or Want To?

What happens to you when you sense that you "have to" do something? Think about that Saturday that you get to do whatever you want - it is very easy to get out of bed!

But, those days that you "have to" do those awful chores, it takes effort to get out of bed. There is a big difference when you feel an obligation or "have to" compared to a "want to."

Obligation and Have To

Obligation de-energizes - when you no longer see a choice

You no longer see choice when you think you "should, must, have to," That creates a focus only on what you don't want to do. You roll your eyes when you think about it. It saps your energy and you don’t want to get started.

Obligation creates a react and respond life, not choose and create. There is no focus on the benefit of doing this task or how it could help others, so you lose site of why you chose it in the first place.

Of course, there are many things that appear to have no choice. For example, your boss tells you to take out the trash. Do you have a choice? Of course you do! What about the simple choice to live good values.

Or, you may choose something basic like stay employed. What about have a tidy work space? There are options, but it may be difficult to see them now that you focus on what you "have to" do.

There are always choices, but when you sense obligation, you no longer see the choices you actually have.

Obligation removes freedom - when you no longer see a choice

Similarly, what you may freely chose to do, can now become a "have to." You decided to go to a function with a friend, because it seemed fun at the time. Now, the event is coming up and you sense an obligation to go. "I can't believe I told them I would go with them."

Of course you don't "have to" go. You are free to not go, but you don't see that choice, because it feels like an obligation. A clear way to remove the obligation is to choose a value like supporting your friend or just being with them. Choice is still available, it just doesn't feel like it!

Obligation cripples commitments - when you no longer see a choice

Finally, while this is much the same as the first two, it highlights the damage obligation can do to you. For example, suppose you commit to a monogamous relationship when you get married. Then, after a few months or years, you don't feel the attraction to your spouse. So, you start thinking you are trapped or are obligated to remain married to this person. The more you feel obligated, the more you encourage rebellion and dismissing your commitment to the monogamous relationship.

It is the same with committing to excellence at work, to losing weight, or being kind to a difficult person. You will no longer see a choice to commit, because it has become an obligation to rebel against. Expect damage to you and your reputation to show up soon!

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