Why Do I Feel Obligated?


It’s the Christmas season in my world which means I am in the midst of figuring out what I’m buying, who I’m buying for, and who I’m mailing cards to. I am so bloody behind that I am like a chicken with my head cut off—an analogy I’ve used more times than I care to count this year. My last course, and my recently flourishing social life, have caused me to get much further behind than I am accustomed to being at this point in December.

Mostly, I’ve figured everything out, but over-tired me did have a mini pity party this week. Once that was over I had to give my head a shake and ask why on earth I was putting so much pressure on myself. The same was asked by someone I enlisted for idea assistance. I didn’t have an answer.

I thought back to when I enjoyed gift-buying, when I looked forward to the entire activity of delivering presents to people. Then I tried to figure out what made this year different. I realized that I felt obligated to buy for certain people, and that was sucking the fun out of everything. No one expects me to buy for them, or go all out for them, so why do I expect it? Why do I feel obligated? I like to give gifts for the sheer joy of seeing peoples’ faces light up. That is the best part of gift-buying for me: Finding that perfect something and seeing someone’s face pop into your head and knowing you have to get it for them.

This led me to think of other moments where I’ve drowned in ire due to feelings of obligation. Apparently I have grossly negative feelings when it comes to that word.

I’m wondering now if this odd association is also causing me some issues with my writing. I do feel obligated to get in my three days a week and I have been pushing those days to the last minute which means I have to get words down when I am feeling less than inspired. There are also days when I feel obligated to draft up a blog post when I feel absolutely dry idea-wise and tapped energy-wise.

Lately I find I am doing more things because I feel I have to do them rather than because I want to do them. It’s not the best outlook on life and it’s not making much of anything fun. The kicker is no one is making me feel obligated aside from myself.

With all my goal and task revamping in 2018 I plan to address this problem as well. It’s yet another item added to the list. But it’s an important one. I like doing stuff, I dislike feeling obligated. I need to find the right a balance.


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