“If you do something out of duty it will deplete you, but if you do something out of love it will energize you.” ~ Unknown
There are several things that motivate us as human beings to want to change, reach our goals or achieve our aspirations. One of the main motivators to better ourselves is often other people. How many times have we heard or even said ourselves, “I am going to stop drinking for my kids,” “lose weight for my spouse,” “stop smoking for my parents,” etc… And while it may sound noble to use our loved ones as the fuel behind our fire, it actually may end up working against us rather than for us.
When we use other people as our “reason” to stop or start doing something we come to an energetic fork on the road of personal development. Down one way we have the energy of duty/obligation and down the other path is the energy of love/joy. The energy behind our actions makes all the difference in the world. As time passes, and we use obligation as our reason for our actions we will begin to feel depleted energetically.
Everything we do becomes something we “have” to do rather than something we want to do, which ensures that either we will fail at said task, or we will feel so terrible about having to accomplish it that we will begin to resent the people, places or things that we used as the initial motivation.
With one small shift in perspective (from duty to love) we can actually shift the energetic component that stands behind our desire to change to something that will give us a much higher success rate, which consequently turns us into the person we aspire to be. So how exactly do we approach things from this different standpoint? How do we go about taking all the things in our lives that have become “have to’s” (have to go to work, have to eat healthy, have to exercise, have to take my kids somewhere, have to clean the house…) and instead switch them to want to’s or better yet, get to’s?
Here are some tips to transform our energy from obligation to joy:
“Self care is never a selfish act, it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” ~ Parker Palmer
1) Stop focusing on the part you don’t want to do, and instead let your task go hand in hand with something you do want to do
Anytime we partner our obligatory task with something that makes it more enjoyable to accomplish we can switch our perspective from something we dread doing to something we are actually looking forward to.
For example, if someone hates exercising but loves listening to music, they can use listening to music as their reason that they will exercise.
Another example would be if someone feels like they are depriving themselves while they are eating healthy, but they love to cook, they can use trying out new recipes or even showing off how well they can make healthy food taste good to their friends or family as the motivation behind their new eating habits. When we marry something we don’t think we love to do with something we do love to do we trick our mind into looking forward to things rather than trying to avoid them.
2) Switch from saying “have to” to “love to”
This one step alone completely changes the way our subconscious deals with the activities we partake in. If we switch from saying things like, “I have to lose weight,” “I have to stop smoking,” or “I have to clean up my house” to “I love being able to buy new clothes when I am more confident in myself,” “I love the way I feel when I don’t smoke,” and “I love the way my house looks after I’ve taken the time to clean it”, our subconscious mind starts to match up these activities with something we find enjoyable which means when it comes to doing them we will be more inclined to success in these tasks.
3) Love yourself no matter what
This one is huge and probably the single most important step we can take when we are trying to take on better habits. There are going to be days in your journey that you don’t feel like eating healthy, exercising, or cleaning the house and that’s ok! In fact, especially in the beginning stages of our trying to change something about ourselves the old us will beg to come back.
The one that still wants to eat sweets, smoke cigarettes, or sit around all day doing nothing, will inevitably try and creep back in to see if there’s still a place for them in our hearts. Instead of resisting these thoughts, judging ourselves for having them or even worse, beating ourselves up for giving in to them we are only called to accept them and then love them.
Even if we do give in and find ourselves going back to old habits, if we treat ourselves with more forgiveness and love during these times rather than feeling ashamed of ourselves we will notice that over time these thoughts don’t pop in our minds as often.
As our vibration raises (which is accomplished by accepting and loving ourselves unconditionally) the actions that are called forth from us from this higher vibration will naturally be those more based in healthy and productive mannerisms.
Change is never easy, but if we always make the self-love as the number one priority in our life, we will find that we naturally begin to do things and make choices that we can be proud of. And while it’s not wrong to want to be a better person for other people or things other than our own self, the only thing that will give us results that stick with us over time is love and joy.
When duty and obligation switches to joy and love the world begins to feel like a fun place again, one that is always challenging us to be a better version of our former selves, and we are right there, ready to face the challenge head on.