We talk about this is one shape or another a lot... What are our obligations to ourselves?

Self Talk

I think this shows up a lot in how we speak ourselves in particular. Do you tell yourself you “deserve” good treatment or poor? How do you speak to yourself? A lot of us speak to ourselves in a way that we would absolutely never speak to other people. And that’s a problem.

You will never spend as much time with anyone else as you do with yourself. If you are constantly negative, nasty or disrespectful to yourself, of course that is going to have an impact on your


So you your first obligation is to speak to yourself (or at least endeavor to) as though you would a friend; kindness, respect, honesty. If you speak to yourself with judgment and shame, you are also far more likely to speak to and think of others this way.


Another obligation to yourself is action. What do you want from life? I don’t care about what others want you to do or what you think is the right thing to do…

If the would ends today, what would you be happiest about in life? What did you accomplish? What did you learn? What did you experience that you are grateful for?

If you aren’t sure, that is something to take a look at. If you feel like there is a list but you would like it to be longer, then make that list and figure out how to get there. We are only offered so many journeys around the sun and it is our job (because no one could or would do it for us) to make it what we want it to be.

Step one: What do you want from life?

Step two: How do you get there?

Self talk + Action

They way you speak to yourself will absolutely impact weather or not you are able to take action. If you tell yourself you aren’t good enough or smart of enough or WHATEVER enough then you will self sabotage and will not get what you most wanted from life.

If you are having a difficult time getting these two obligations to yourself worked out, ask for help! Do you need a therapist, a coach, a friend?! We all need a team, is it time to assemble yours?

Do you feel like you are over committed? Do you feel as though you spend more time juggling your scheduled than living your life?


I’m pretty sure we’ve all been in a place in life that we didn’t feel like we had time really sit back and enjoy things. It happens to all of us. Since we are looking at “obligations” this month I want to spend some time looking at how our schedule reflects our values and what is most important to us.

Do me a favor…

Pull out your schedule for last week, don’t worry I’ll wait. If I was sitting next to you looking at it with you, what information could I get from that schedule? Would I see what and who are most important to you? Or… did your schedule last week look like a lot of “shoulds,” “supposed tos” and “I guesses?”

A lot of people get bogged down with all the things they think they “supposed” to do for other people. Taking your kid to every party they are invited to seems an easy example. Look, I get why parents feel pressure to invite the entire class. But how is that showing kids what is really important about friendship, fun or even time management? Do you go to every party your invited to?!


Sometimes, we need to say no to things. Not because we have a prior commitment or another party to rush off to or a soccer practice to get to but because we are TIRED…. Or maybe we just don’t want to go! When we need a down time or a break from out free time, there is a problem.


So if last week’s schedule didn’t look like you wanted, pull out next week’s. What is ONE (come one, just one) thing you can take off. No excuses, no apologies. Just let yourself off the hook. What would you do with that time? Take a nap? Read a book? Go for a walk? Do a puzzle with the kids? Make it happen! Tomorrow isn’t promised and if you put off living until tomorrow, too much of the good stuff could pass you by.

As always, I’m here. I would love to hear what you have let go of and what you plan to do instead!

As people start to pursue (or berate themselves for not pursuing) their New Year’s resolutions. I have been listening and looking around wondering who we owe things to and why.

This month we are going to be looking at obligations and asking ourselves who we have decided we are obligated to and why.

The definition of obligation:

  1. Something by which a person is bound or obliged to do certain things and which arises out of a sense of duty or results from custom, law, etc.
  2. Something that is done or is to be done for such reasons: to fulfill one’s obligations.
  3. A binding promise, contract, sense of duty, etc.
  4. The act of binding or obligating oneself by a promise, contract, etc.

It keeps going but I think you get the point….

I often hear about our obligations to our families in my work.

This one is tricky. When our kids are minors, we owe them everything we can give them; love, time, attention, discipline, boundaries, etc. When they are adults, our obligation is very different and knowing when and how to scale that back is difficult and probably looks different for every family and sometimes every kid.

What do you owe your parents? Technically, respect (with notable exceptions). Which may or may not mean that they are in our lives.

What about extended family members? Much the same as parents, it would be great to offer them respect and in many cases respect may come in the form of distance.   That whole, ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say’ thing.

If relationships are meant to be 50/50 then it is important to consider what the other person is willing and able to add to your life. Are there exceptions? OF COURSE! I’m not really talking about them though.

In my experience, lots of people expect that they have to give more than they are given. And in many cases that may be the truth but I think that it is valuable to at least evaluate from time to time why you are doing that? Are you trying to prove that you are the nicest, most put upon person who ever lived? Or is it really the right thing to do? If it is simply the right thing to do, how do you balance that with the other needs and obligations you have?

Just as an example… You have a grandparent who is pressuring (possibly even bullying) you to have a relationship with a parent that wasn’t around for you growing up and with whom you don’t currently have a relationship with.   (I believe in forgiveness as a way of setting ourselves free but you can do that without contact with the parent.) Of course people can change but is it fair for your grandparent to pressure you into anything other than eating your vegetables?

Perhaps that example feels too simple to you because you are experiencing it. But obligation shows up for most of us on a regular basis. My question is, does the obligation serve you?

What now?

As a fun little exercise, write down all the things you would like to get done in the next seven days and why. Really pay attention to why you are doing things. For example, I pay my taxes to stay out of jail… That is totally for me. If the why is not for you… Who is it for?

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