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Why do we cringe at being obligated to others?

Updated: Nov 17, 2023


“He has come thrice to our home and we have not been able to visit him at all due to circumstances. Makes me feel very uncomfortable”


“We have eaten at their home many times but we have not been able to invite them. I hope we can do it soon”


“I have lent my brother money when he needed it. But I feel very hesitant to ask him for it. I don’t like the feeling of being obligated”


Why do many of us cringe at being obligated to someone? Being obligated means we have taken something from them when we needed it. We had a need to be met and we did not have the resources to meet those needs, so we seek the resources from someone who has it and was willing to give it to us without putting a price on it. So why the hesitation to seek help? It is understandable if we don’t want to ask for resources (time, money, emotional support, physical assistance etc) from someone who will put up a huge price to give or someone who will use it to put us down somewhere. But not everyone is like that. Many are willing to share their resources with us So why do we cringe? Why do we prefer to suffer rather than be obligated to someone?


Every one of us will have phases in our lives when we are short of resources. At that time reaching out to trusted people, our well-wishers for help gives us the chance to deal with life and pull ourselves up. We can repay what we borrowed from the person or pay it forward to someone else in need, which helps us in our growth. As long as we don’t misuse help from others or use it as a substitute for our laziness, being obligated is not bad. Sometimes we are obligated and at other times others are obligated to us. Some days we give, and some days we receive. One is not superior to another.


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