From Obligation to Love

You have to choose to leave the bad behind in order to get to the good.


The People-Pleasing Struggle

In the past, including in my writing, I’ve been very firm about not being obligated to anyone. You know the gamut: not trying to impress anyone, not doing things just because I think people want me to, not trying to be a certain way for any certain someone. Overall, no people-pleasing.

I felt that I had to be very vigilant to avoid falling into these traps. It seemed I was playing a game of tug-of-war, where people around me wanted me to be a certain (or, more often, a vague) way; meanwhile, I just wanted to be myself as I was.

Over time I got good at not succumbing to people pleasing. Often I’d even do the outright opposite: not to make a point, but simply because that particular course of action was right for me. I got very used to defying and disappointing people—or, at least, preparing to do so (i.e. I expected to disappoint, though that’s not necessarily how the other person reacted).


Natural Love

In recent months, however, my relationship life has undergone change. I realize now that the people in my life who genuinely love and respect me most don’t need me to be a particular way. I don’t even think about straining to impress them, nor do I have to remind myself that I’m not obligated to them in any way. That conflict-energy just isn’t there.

No, I don’t have to try very much at all with this people. Yet I am my most honest, thoughtful, and authentic when I am with them, and the mere thought of them motivates me to be my best self. Their simple presence in my life is inspiring.

I never knew that human relationships could feel quite this good. For a long time I assumed struggle was inherent to human interaction. I was dead wrong.

I never feel like I need to “shake these people off” or get them to shut up when I need peace and clarity. I’m quite fine with them just continuing to be in my presence-- even in my thoughts. Rarely do I have a thought about them that sparks anxiety or depression. In the presence of true love, there is no need to go hiding anywhere. Who needs to hide from genuine respect and care?

This doesn’t mean that people who love you will never challenge you. But “challenge” no longer means the same as “struggle.” Instead, their positive influence will naturally uplift you. They help you to see and believe you can become the person you want to be. It will take work to grow into that person; and, it will simply feel like the right thing to do. The experience will be continually gratifying and rewarding—much like the positive relationships at hand.


Leave the Past Behind

Until you refuse to take abuse, disrespect, and toxicity any longer, you won’t be able to see any of this. You’ll see minefields everywhere: there will be nowhere safe.

However, once you resolve to live with dignity, and to trust in what you know is right for you, the floodgates will open to you. There is nothing like another human believing in you—to actualize the person that you really are.

You can really and truly be loved—even if you never thought it was possible. For all you know, you already are: you just haven't allowed yourself to see it yet. And when you finally do see it, just watch what love will do to you.

Read Related Articles: