Obligation is a tricky thing. When you feel obligated to do something, the choice doesn’t always feel like it’s yours. You may be making the choice to do something out of obligation, even when that obligation no longer serves you, no longer fits into your life, or is no longer healthy for you. This obligation usually involves something we feel we can’t jeopardize (like work and other financial contracts) or family dynamics (where the strain on a few impacts the whole). So you follow through anyway, because underneath the choice, you feel morally contracted and unable to refuse its gravitational pull.
I’m here to remind you that if something is unhealthy for you, you have the right to say no.
Step 1: Validate Your Discomfort
In the face of obligation, we shirk our own feelings so as to not disrupt the flow of life. But sometimes, that change is necessary so that we can grow and bring more balance into our lives and to those around us. So, if something is making you uncomfortable to do, advocate for yourself. Speak up for your needs and get them met. One of the biggest mistakes we make is putting ourselves last. We think that we’re taking care of everyone else, but we’re actually robbing them of the person we could be if we felt more happy, healthy, and respected.
Step 2: Make the Hard Choice
I recently put some much needed distance between myself and someone who has been harmful to my sense of security and self-worth for most of my life. These past few years have been very powerful for me, as I continue to claim ownership over who I am and offer every aspect of myself love and acceptance, even the parts of me that need work. So, upon standing in these new shoes, I’m finding that I have more invested in my own happiness and well-being and far less tolerance for allowing elements into my life that threaten that foundation that I have worked so hard to build. So I said no. I made the hard choice and set boundaries for myself. I’ve been slowly doing this in the past two years, but this one is instrumental for my mental health and I feel so much better having done so.
Step 3: Own It
You’ve made the choice to put your wellness first, now stick to it. Don’t let others make you feel guilty for it. Don’t let those factors slowly creep their way back in. Stand a little taller knowing that you’ve advocated for yourself, just as you would for anyone that you love. You’ve always had the permission to take care of your body, mind, and spiritual destiny. So, own it.