4 Social Obligations it’s OK to Avoid, Ignore or Deny
In this lifetime, we have infinite choice. We get to decide how we react to any situation that comes our way. However, we often feel chained to social obligations and therefore react in ways that may make us feel uncomfortable-even when our intuition tells us to behave differently. Many times we act the way we think we are supposed to act, rather than the way we really want to act.
Though you always have the choice to avoid, ignore or deny an obligation, the ones listed below are common in today’s society. The next time you find yourself in one of these situations, remember you have a choice in how you react. Follow your inner guidance and do what feels right to you, even if it flies in the face of conventional social conditioning.
1. Listening to nasty or gossipy conversations.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a conversation that takes a turn for the worse. Suddenly, a cheerful conversation about the weather gets sprinkled with gossip, complaints or even hatred.
If you find yourself in a conversation that is bringing down your vibe, it is OK for you to excuse yourself and move away from the offensive discussion. You are allowed to leave any conversation at any time, even if the other person might consider it rude or abrupt.
2. Giving people money just because they ask or demand it from you.
Generosity is a magnificent trait, and if you are the type of person who gives freely, I applaud you for your kindness and compassion. Just remember, though, you always have an option.
Some people who are generous get taken advantage of at times, or they are stretched beyond their means. In cases like these it’s always a good idea to assert your right to deny these requests. If you feel pressured to give money just because someone corners you for a donation, or puts you on the spot for gas money, remember it’s always up to you whether or not you oblige.
If you feel good about sharing your wealth, please do it, but you feel uncomfortable by the request, by all means honor your intuition and keep your money in your pocket. Give freely on your own terms.
3. Fulfilling favors for people who have ulterior motives.
I’m all for helping people out, and if someone you know or meet needs genuine support-by all means provide it if you can! We all find ourselves in a jam once in a while and could use a little help. However, some people who ask for favors have ulterior motives beyond simple assistance.
There are those who ask for favors to gain control of a relationship. They get gratification from watching others jump through hoops and follow orders. Others ask for favors because they have a codependent need to be the center of attention. You can spot these motives in people who ask you for unnecessary, frequent favors they are capable of handling on their own.
There are other ulterior motives out there but these two are fairly common.
If you feel as if the person asking you for favors has ulterior motives, it is perfectly healthy and justifiable to abstain from helping out. Use your better judgement when deciding whether or not you should use your time and resources to respond to a favor.
4. Biting your tongue.
I think manners are a great thing, and I strive to have good manners myself. However, I have also seen that sometimes manners can get in the way of saying things that need to be said. If you’re standing in a long line and someone cuts to the front or if someone you know is taking repeated jabs at you, you are allowed to speak up and stand up for yourself (and those around you!).
Some people follow good manners, while other people take advantage of people with good manners. Because of this dynamic, being polite in the face of injustice can make us feel cowardly or victimized. Asserting ourselves in these situations can be a much more empowering choice. So long as we handle the interaction with dignity and respect, much may be gained from speaking up.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to speak your mind. You have the freedom to defend yourself and others from injustices.
Again, at times we may feel obligated to act in a way that makes us feel bad inside. We may be pressured to engage in a negative conversation, fulfill an unnecessary or controlling request, or we may feel we have to bite our tongues in order to be polite. It’s good to remember in situations like these that we are allowed to ignore, avoid or deny these social obligations.
You have freedom of choice in how you react. You are allowed to listen to your better judgement and act in the way you feel is most appropriate. Social conditioning and obligation are only choices, at the end of the day.
Act with your highest self in mind, and do what feels right for your soul as much as often as possible. In allowing yourself to choose your reactions (rather than simply defaulting on social obligations) you empower yourself and stay true to your inner guidance.
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Image by cylonfingers. This image has been edited.