Obligation vs Love

Blogs, Chronic Pain, Invisible Illness

Harmony and balance
Harmony and balance

Obligation vs Love

Moving back to my hometown for a year during a pandemic has bought up a lot of things for me. Old patterns, old wounds, guilt, healing that needs to be done, trauma triggers & a LOT of obligation.

It wasn’t until I had been here a year already that I really started to feel quite negative about my experiences which was a bit weird for me as I am quite a positive person. To be fair though 6 months in was also a struggle as I am not a cold climate person and winter was isolating and tiring but that I could blame on the weather!

During holiday season though, right in the middle of summer I have no excuses and really need to take a more indepth look at myself & why I have such feelings of conflict, apathy & disassociation. So here I am.

Why do I feel like I just cannot wait to get out of here? Well apart from the fact almost everyone has kids here and their realities are engulfed in the minutiae of everyday life as it needs to be, in caring for children. Whereas I don’t have kids and am a big picture person.

My two besties have moved overseas and interstate too and so many of my favourite people do not live here. Some do of course and I love catching up with them when they are available or my health lets me.

Having a year of showing up to all the family birthdays and special holidays etc in a big way has become expensive at a time when ive had no income for almost 2 years, coupled with a lack of appreciation which is not really very fun. I have a complicated relationship with my family and the dread would start to sink in prior to the events, many of which I was hosting. I was going over and above and seemingly getting nothing back be it appreciation or positivity or gifts or the type of connection and validation or love I was looking for.

Not to mention living with chronic illness and becoming more introverted. Showing up is a lot harder for me than many. So it was double draining for me and I guess my expectations of others were quite high.

I began to realise that my life here was starting to feel like an obligation.

I am not feeling like I fit in here and it was really beginning to drain me. I started blaming the location and that I just don’t want to live in Adelaide anymore which I actually feel ridiculous saying as we are so lucky here. I live in an amazing house on a beautiful beach. We have 4 distinct seasons which many people love (I only love one of them lol). Great food and produce, it is relatively peaceful and people look out for each other. It is a beautiful part of the world and a great place to live. And I am very thankful and lucky to be here.

But it wasn’t really feeling that way authentically.

So I really started questioning myself and asking myself what is really going on here.

Is it because I am single? Maybe.
Is it because I am feeling unwell? Sometimes.
Is it because I don’t feel appreciated? Definitely.

I realised after putting on a massive Xmas party for my extended family 2 weeks before Xmas so everyone could make it and then having a pretty disappointing Xmas day, that I have gone into a state of obligation not love. I used to LOVE holidays full of giving and receiving, fun, joy, intimate conversations, happiness, caring. Where has it all gone? Is it because I have been away? Or because I am a very different person now and so are the people I am related to? Do we have anything in common anymore and should that even matter?

I started to feel like an oddball. Sad that I haven’t been in peoples lives enough after living away for 12+ years now and only coming back to visit, which was always fun. But when I live here it becomes a grind.

It is the obligation.

I started to look at other parts of my life that I haven’t been at my best with over the last year. And I realised that so much of my life has simply become an obligation & not infused with love, which means I have let it become that!

Eating right.
Looking after my health.
Meditating.
Even exercising and swimming in my pool which I love, has become a chore.

Catching up with friends takes a lot out of me energetically.
I’ve stopped going for walks along the beach and then feeling guilty about it.
I don’t go to the shops ever and get everything delivered.

All the things that used to be joyful and part of life have become hard work.
Wearing a mask.
Peoples energies are weird and full of fear and judgement.
It just doesn’t feel worth engaging for me and thus it has all become obligatory.

I’m not blaming the pandemic. I’m blaming the grind.

Whenever we get out of flow and into ‘should’,  it becomes obligation. And for me that meant losing the love. Although that does very easily happen when we are pushed into fear and hounded by it in a way our bodies are not meant to bare which we have seen during this pandemic. Many of us shut down or go into fight or flight which is exhausting.

It is important to realise and be conscious of where our behaviours are coming from. When I host a celebration out of love and give out of love, then the reciprocity comes and the love flows. But I realised when this doesn’t happen maybe I need to look at my own motivations and attitudes. Did I do this out of love? Or even if I started with love, did it end up that way? Or did I give too much of myself and then felt resentful, because I had somehow switched it energetically into an obligation through my own over commitment?

I think this is what happens to a lot of brides on their wedding day which they don’t end up being able to enjoy. Or mums who just give and give and give and give without refilling their own cups. Or dads (& mums) who take the role of the provider and need to always show up for their family without being thanked for it. It’s simply expected.

Now that I have seen this in my own life I am rethinking what I give and how I give. I am also rethinking where I want to live.

When I give it needs to be authentic and out of love.
When I show up it needs to be authentic and out of love.
How I look after my own wellness needs to be authentic and out of love.
The work I do needs to be authentic and out of love.
Where I live needs to support me authentically and out of love

Otherwise life becomes an obligation.
And that’s not the life I want to live.

Whilst we all do have obligations to fulfill, it needs to be in balance. And I feel confident those obligations can be first and foremost from a place of love when we are aware and authentic and do not over commit. This is something I am still working on & haven’t mastered yet. But awareness is the first step.

Much Love, Zoë xx