Discover / Understanding


12 March 2021 – Author: Christopher Hansard

Obligation. You may have found yourself in a situation when you have have felt obliged to someone. What causes this ? Is it a sense of duty, maybe towards a parent, formed in childhood that causes you pain, anger and  confusion. 

You might feel this towards a partner in which a relationship no longer works, or towards someone who is ill, and although you care, you feel trapped and worn out. You could feel obliged towards a belief, a group of people or a way of life.

Obligation that is created through feeling trapped is not an obligation made by a conscious choice but by pain. Obligation is often dressed up in many other descriptions; responsibility, respect, obedience, selflessness . Have you ever felt obligated to a person or idea in this way ?

You can set yourself free of these experiences and of obligation of this type. Obligation can feel like a form of control and can hinder your own self development and emotional growth. The more obligated you feel, you start to take on the needs of which your obligation is focused, over your own. Obligation is either a moral experience that lasts for a certain time based on certain events, or it is an emotional dead end.

If you look at times in your life when you felt obligated to someone, how did it  make you feel? What were the physical , emotional and mental experiences that you went through ?

If you feel obligated to someone now and that you experience a lack of freedom, integrity or anger then the time has come to set yourself free. It can be easier said than done. 

The first step in freeing yourself of what I call, ‘false obligation’ is to examine how this obligation influences how you see yourself. This can be hard, but if you do this, by observing how the situation makes you feel, you will start to uncover the causes of your obligation. In doing this , you start to understand the situation more objectively and with less anxiety. Most obligation creates anxiety, and anxiety wraps itself around the obligation obscuring what first created it.

As you start to separate the emotions and thoughts you have from the obligation you experience, you may experience challenging emotions and physical discomfort. But the more you can do this, the more free you become.

Whatever your circumstances are, as you start to become objective about them, you will find a path forward that will enable you to find ways of letting go, the emotional attachments that obligation creates. You find solutions that help you to create other ways of dealing with your situation.

Obligation can entrap anyone, and many people are held down by the chains of obligation, thinking that they can never set themselves free. You can free yourself, all you need to do, is to take the first step; and that is knowing, that you can. Obligation will no longer block out the sunlight or the happiness you deserve, but in time it will become less and less. You then reclaim yourself and start to live your own life.

About the author

Christopher Hansard

Christopher Hansard is a best selling author, online psychotherapist and the leading western practitioner of Tibetan medicine. Christopher has been a key note speaker at conferences and has led seminars and workshops around the world. He has twice spoken at the Oxford Union about Social Change and Mental Health. He runs a busy International online practice offering Online Psychotherapy and Tibetan Medicine.

About Christopher