At the end of every calendar year, I tend to look back and reflect on the lessons I've learned and my plans for the future.  This morning, I realized that there wasn't much of anything new I've learned except the concept of "obligation."

It's the latest theme I've run across in the past couple of months.  
An "obligation" as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound.  It is also known as a duty or commitment. 

In thinking about the lessons I've learned, I always look back and think about my mother's life and how themes affected her and in turn have affected me throughout the years.  Obligation was a huge theme in every step of the way.  My mother was abused in all ways as a child and teenager and even as an adult.  She was taken advantage of and used.  And everything that happened to her, only made her stronger.  Yet, she never held a grudge against ANYONE, including her abusers.  She eventually forgave them and moved on to the best of her ability and prospered far beyond their and her wildest dreams and imagination.  

However, obligation managed to haunt her.  She felt she had to take care of one of the greatest villains of her life because even through all the turmoil she experienced, she desperately wanted a loving and healthy, familial relationship with this individual, despite all that had happened.  No matter how much this person hurt her with words, as they could no longer hurt her with hands, she still felt this deep sense of obligation to give this individual anything they asked her for.  And so that's how she lived much of her adult life.  Trying to buy this person's love because she knew that was the only way in.  

After her passing, that obligation was passed on to me.  In my case, I was unable to provide anything to this individual financially.  So instead, I endured their verbal abuse for several months after my mom's death, until I simply couldn't take it anymore.  After being accused of making my mother suffer miserably (along with the rest of her children, apparently), my mental and emotional state, just couldn't deal with it.  I'd been verbally abused lightly by this individual as a youth, myself, and now that my mother was no longer there to shield me from the worst, I made a decision - as guilty as I sometimes feel - to talk to this individual only when I feel mentally capable of talking to them.  

I owe this person absolutely nothing.  My time with them as a teen was at times horrific, and depressing.  I recall also trying to win them over because there is still this sense of unconditional love....  this link to my very own mother... but I am not otherwise bound to this person.  They serve me no purpose but to remind me that I owe NO ONE a damn thing. 

So anytime I feel any sense of duty towards any one person or situation, I ask myself, do I owe them anything? And seriously, what have they done for me lately?  Has their purpose in my life been filled?  And if it has, it is time to let go.  

I cannot, in good conscience, completely cut off this person.  I just don't HAVE to contact them. I don't HAVE to listen to them ramble, insult me, or allow them to incessantly guilt me.

The only obligations I must abide by are those that somehow serve me.
I am legally obligated to work to pay my bills; I am morally obligated to continue to love those who show me genuine love in return; and, finally but most importantly, I am obligated in every way, to take care of ME - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I am my ONLY constant obligation. 


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