A Sense of Obligation

My cousin shared a link to an NPR post on her Facebook page recently. The title caught my eye, but I wasn’t going to bother clicking on it as I was in a hurry, I had to go do stuff, blah-blah… But then I found myself with a few minutes to spare so I took the time to read the post. And I’m so glad I did, as it really struck a chord with me.

Many times I find myself annoyed at having to attend certain events out of some sense of obligation. But then you take a minute and realize that you are not there for yourself; you’re there for the person whose birthday, graduation, wedding, or funeral it is. You are there to show them and their loved ones that they have touched your life in some way and that, yes, they matter(ed).

Here is an excerpt:

“Always go to the funeral” means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to. I’m talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex’s uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil. It’s hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.

Full text here: http://www.npr.org/2005/08/08/4785079/always-go-to-the-funeral

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Lou Galindo

Lou Galindo

Cuban-American transplant from Miami. Work-at-home online content manager and researcher for an L.A.-based marketing co-op specializing in travel. Pop culture junkie, wannabe photographer, sometime scrapbooker, and full-time dork.

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  • Thanks for this Lou. Life’s interesting in that in some regards, I would actually encourage people NOT to do things simply because they feel they “should”. I think so often we end up doing too many things in life out of a sense of obligation and end up bouncing all over the place like a pinball around other people’s expectations. It’s easy to lose focus of what’s truly important to us and to get detoured off our own unique path of purpose. However…this absolutely needs balancing. If we go too far down the “purpose” path with blinders on, we risk dipping into a narrow, selfish way of living. If we resist doing things that would mean a great deal to others that we claim to care about for the sole purpose of simply being too lazy to act, then that’s not an act of choosing purpose over other’s expectations. That’s just a sign of being a self-centered pseudo-friend. Great reminder. Thank you.

  • Lou Galindo

    Yes, absolutely! I think that’s the difficult thing, finding the right balance.