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June 12, 2018

How to Let Go of Obligation

As a mum do you feel a huge sense of obligation? An obligation to look after your child. To feed them nourishing food, cloth them, educate them, entertain them, help them become polite, grateful, moral, caring and kind individuals. Not much at all.

We put a heavy burden on our own shoulders. Notice I didn’t say society puts the burden on us. It’s not the children who do that. It’s not our families or friends. We create these expectations for ourselves. I could blame society, but you know what happens then? I become powerless, I become a victim and then I can’t change the situation.

I want you to feel empowered.

I want you to know that we create these expectations with our own thoughts for example, “I should be feeding them healthy food” and “it’s my responsibility to help them learn”. So if we create those burdens with our own thoughts, we can choose to let them stay or we can release them.

I’m going to teach you a concept that has been life changing for me.

We don’t HAVE to do anything in life. “What?” you say, “have you lost your mind?”. I haven’t lost my mind (at least I don’t think so), hear me out.

We think we HAVE to do certain things, feed the children, pay our taxes, make repayments on the house. But we don’t actually HAVE to do anything. There are consequences for not taking certain actions. Children might cry because they are hungry, we might have the tax department calling us, hey we might go to jail or have nowhere to live. That’s pretty much the worst thing that can happen to us in life. And if that happens, the worst part will be the feelings that will ensue, feeling failure, humiliation and shame. It won’t actually kill us.

If we can acknowledge that we always have a choice in life, we can relieve the pressure and obligation. We get to CHOOSE. It’s a very different feeling from obligation. We can start to take control of how we react to circumstances, we can make choices from an empowered place, instead of from a place of fear. It opens up our mind to new possibilities, new solutions and helps us consciously create the results we want in life.

Does that sound like something you want? Me too!

What about safety?

The one thing some of you might be thinking is what about safety? What about keeping our children safe. True, this is something that many of my clients bring up. I agree we need to keep our children safe. Safety is non negotiable in my house, but in a considered way. I want you to ponder whether you allow your child to take appropriate responsibility for their actions.

When I travelled in Vietnam 10 years ago, before I had children of my own, I remember seeing a two year old wandering around carrying a burning ember to start a fire. She was carefully carrying it with two hands. I was initially shocked and then fascinated. She understood the consequences of holding the timber too close to the embers. So when I had children of my own, I tool on a similar philosophy. I would educate my kids, I would let them know that the cup of tea was hot, but if they reached out to try, I didn’t grab their hand away. I let them feel the heat and realise the consequence for themselves. I don’t want to protect my children from ALL consequences, because as they grow older the consequences will have more grave repercussions. I want them to learn lessons of life along the way. So next time you want to protect your child from pain or failure, which is naturally what our brain wants to do. Ask yourself if this is really a safety issue, what is the worst possible outcome? Could this be an opportunity for you child to learn a life lesson?

If you love this kind of work, I highly recommend you check out my Facebook page. Every weekend I’m teaching a new coaching concept on FB live and I’m loving it! If you catch me on there, make sure you say hi and I welcome any questions no matter how difficult!

Image By Dmitriy Be, Unsplash