Obliged Relationship Quotes

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I'm here to tell you, though, ladies that the term "gold digger" is one of the traps we men set to keep you off our money trail; we created that term for you so that we can have all our money and still get everything we want from you without you asking for or expecting this very basic, instincual responsibility that men all over the world are obligated to assume and embrace. ... KNOW THIS: It is your right to expect that a man will pay for your dinner, your movie ticket, your club entry fee, or whatever else he has to pay for in exhange for your time.
Steve Harvey (Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment)
In the true married relationship, the independence of husband and wife will be equal, their dependence mutual, and their obligations reciprocal.
Lucretia Mott
[Friendship] is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by neither law nor property nor blood, there is no glue in it but mutual liking. It is therefore rare.
Wallace Stegner (Crossing to Safety)
Daughter! Get you an honest Man for a Husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the Honour and moral Character of the Man more than all other Circumstances. Think of no other Greatness but that of the soul, no other Riches but those of the Heart. An honest, Sensible humane Man, above all the Littlenesses of Vanity, and Extravagances of Imagination, labouring to do good rather than be rich, to be usefull rather than make a show, living in a modest Simplicity clearly within his Means and free from Debts or Obligations, is really the most respectable Man in Society, makes himself and all about him the most happy.
John Adams (Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife (Large Print Edition))
There is nothing I detest so much as the contortions of these great time-and-lip servers, these affable dispensers of meaningless embraces, these obliging utterers of empty words, who view every one in civilities
Molière (The Misanthrope)
In the track of fear we have so many conditions, expectations, and obligations that we create a lot of rules just to protect ourselves against emotional pain, when the truth is that there shouldn't be any rules. These rules affect the quality of the channels of communication between us, because when we are afraid, we lie. If you have the expectation that I have to be a certain way, then I feel the obligation to be that way.The truth is I am bot what you want me to be. When I am honest and I am what I am, you are already hurt, you are mad. Then I lie to you, because I'm afraid of your judgment. I am afraid you are going to blame me, find me guilty, and punish me.
Miguel Ruiz (The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship: A Toltec Wisdom Book)
Making someone feel obligated, pressured or forced into doing something of a sexual nature that they don't want to is sexual coercion. This includes persistent attempts at sexual contact when the person has already refused you. Nobody owes you sex, ever; and no means no, always.
Miya Yamanouchi (Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women)
We usually expect too much from people. Often we judge them based on their actions even as we judge ourselves based on our intentions.
Chris Hodges (Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God)
There is a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes already to know what the other person has to say. It is an impatient, inattentive listening, that despises the brother and is only waiting for a chance to speak and thus get rid of the other person. This is no fulfillment of our obligation, and it is certain that here too our attitude toward our brother only reflects our relationship to God. It is little wonder that we are no longer capable of the greatest service of listening that God has committed to us, that of hearing our brother's confession, if we refuse to give ear to our brother on lesser subjects. Secular education today is aware that often a person can be helped merely by having someone who will listen to him seriously, and upon this insight it has constructed its own soul therapy, which has attracted great numbers of people, including Christians. But Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community)
In short, the greatest gift of relationship proves to be that as the result of encountering each other, we are obliged to grow larger than we had planned.
James Hollis (What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life)
If you always make him feel he has plenty of space to do his own thing, he’ll always feel that lust. You’ll be like a lover not like his mother. He’ll perceive you as a privilege rather than an obligation, and he’ll come your way.
Sherry Argov (Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship)
There are persons whom in my heart I despise, others I abhor. Yet I am not obliged to inform the one of my contempt, nor the other of my detestation. This kind of dissimulation...is a necessary branch of wisdom, and so far from being immoral...that it is a duty and a virtue.
John Adams
And I think that's the story of our generation's pursuit of fulfillment in relationships. We wished for intimacy without obligation. We wished for sex with no strings attached. We wished for the pleasure of love with none of work, none of the vows, none of the sacrifice. And we got it. But the results aren't what we hoped for. And we're left feeling emptier than before. The intimacy is superficial. The sex leaves us dissatisfied and hungry for something real, something true. Where is true joy? It's found in God's brand of love - love founded on faithfulness, rooted in commitment. The joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment.
Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye)
Paul was focusing on what was happening in him, not to him. Likewise, we can be sure that when something is happening to us, God is doing something in us--something that will shape us for eternity.
Chris Hodges (Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God)
A good book is never exhausted. It goes on whispering to you from the wall. Books perfume and give weight to a room. A bookcase is as good as a view, as the sight of a city or a river. There are dawns and sunsets in books - storms, fogs, zephyrs. I read about a family whose apartment consists of a series of spaces so strictly planned that they are obliged to give away their books as soon as they've read them. I think they have misunderstood the way books work. Reading a book is only the first step in the relationship. After you've finished it, the book enters on its real career. It stand there as a badge, a blackmailer, a monument, a scar. It's both a flaw in the room, like a crack in the plaster, and a decoration. The contents of someone's bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait. - in "About books; recoiling, rereading, retelling", The New York Times, February 22, 1987
Anatole Broyard
It is the perfect wrong time for Jeremy to do to Mirabelle what she had done to him - call him up for a quick fix - because;, in a sense, she is now betrothed. Her first date with someone who treated her well obligates her to faithfulness, at least until the relationship is explored.
Steve Martin (Shopgirl)
I'm really not looking to date anyone." I know people often say that when secretly looking for a romantic partner, but I mean it. I definitely felt attracted to some people, and I liked the idea of being with someone, but the actual mechanics of it didn't much suit my talents. Like, parts of typical romantic relationships that made me anxious included 1. Kissing; 2. Having to say the right things to avoid hurt feelings; 3. Saying more wrong things while trying to apologize; 4. Being at a movie theater together and feeling obligated to hold hands even after your hands become sweaty and the sweat starts mixing together; 5. The part where they say, "What are you thinking about?" And they want you to be, like, "I'm thinking about you, darling," but you're actually thinking about how cows literally could not survive if it weren't for the bacteria in their guts, and how that means that cows do not exist as independent life-forms, but that's not really something you can say out loud, so you're ultimately forced to choose between lying and seeming weird.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
The problem with baggage is that it affects other people's trips.
Chris Hodges (Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God)
Never do anything in relationship out of a sense of obligation. Do whatever you do out of a sense of the glorious opportunity your relationship affords you to decide, and to be, Who You Really Are.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
I always thought our relationships were stronger than those of regular siblings because we didn't have a blood obligation to love each other; we chose to, which is way more powerful.
Rachel Hollis (Sweet Girl (The Girls, #2))
Temptation is a test of your relationship, not your self-control.
Chris Hodges (Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God)
Sometimes it seems safer to have just enough God to get to heaven, but not so much that he radically alters our lives.
Chris Hodges (Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God)
The aim is to love God because the pure heart loves loving God and because the true mind knows He deserves it. Unlike the accusations and beliefs of the critics and skeptics, it is neither an obligation of duty; nor a fear of damnation; nor a wish for power; nor a desire to appear more righteous than others; nor because God needs it; but because through all love, truth, reason, faith, honesty, and joy in and beyond oneself and the universe, He is worthy.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
A sociopath, on the other hand, has the same regard for financial obligations as he does to personal ones: no remorse, no conscience. Get what you want now, and damn the consequences later.
Mary Jo Buttafuoco (Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know)
Simple people with less education, sophistication, social ties, and professional obligations seem in general to have somewhat less difficulty in facing this final crisis than people of affluence who lose a great deal more in terms of material luxuries, comfort, and number of interpersonal relationships. It appears that people who have gone through a life of suffering, hard work, and labor, who have raised their children and been gratified in their work, have shown greater ease in accepting death with peace and dignity compared to those who have been ambitiously controlling their environment, accumulating material goods, and a great number of social relationships but few meaningful interpersonal relationships which would have been available at the end of life.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families)
...but she never wanted to be in a relationship ever again. Because relationships were the worst. So many obligations. So many compromises. So many arguments. Someone always got destroyed in the end. Sometimes everyone got destroyed in the end.
Jami Attenberg (The Middlesteins)
[T]he parent-child relationship was one way, you gave them all your love and they were under no obligation to pay a penny back. Of course, if they did love you then that was the icing on the cake with cherries on top. And chocolate shavings and those little silver balls that cracked your fillings.
Kate Atkinson (Case Histories (Jackson Brodie, #1))
A society which sees her modesty or her "hang-ups" as a problem is necessarily a society which will not be able to get him to commit. Conversely, a society which respected modesty, or what now goes by "hang-ups", was one in which men were obligated.
Wendy Shalit (A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue)
I can’t quite shake this feeling that we live in a world gone wrong, that there are all these feelings you’re not supposed to have because there’s no reason to anymore. But still they’re there, stuck somewhere, a flaw that evolution hasn’t managed to eliminate yet. I want so badly to feel bad about getting pregnant. But I can’t, don’t dare to. Just like I didn’t dare tell Jack that I was falling in love with him, wanting to be a modern woman who’s supposed to be able to handle the casual nature of these kinds of relationships. I’m never supposed to say, to Jack or anyone else, ‘What makes you think I’m so rich that you can steal my heart and it won’t mean a thing?’ Sometimes I think that I was forced to withdraw into depression, because it was the only rightful protest I could throw in the face of a world that said it was all right for people to come and go as they please, that there were simply no real obligations left. Deceit and treachery in both romantic and political relationships is nothing new, but at one time, it was bad, callous, and cold to hurt somebody. Now it’s just the way things go, part of the growth process. Really nothing is surprising. After a while, meaning and implication detach themselves from everything. If one can be a father and assume no obligations, it follows that one can be a boyfriend and do nothing at all. Pretty soon you can add friend, acquaintance, co-worker, and just about anyone else to the long list of people who seem to be part of your life, though there is no code of conduct that they must adhere to. Pretty soon, it seems unreasonable to be bothered or outraged by much of anything because, well, what did you expect?
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
As important as your obligations as a doctor, lawyer or business leader will be, you are a human being first. And these human connections with spouse, with children and with friends are the most important investments you will ever make. At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent. One thing will never change. Fathers and Mothers, if you have children, they must come first. You must read to your children, you must hug your children and you must love your children…. Your success as a family, our success as a society depends not what happens at the White House, but what happens inside YOUR house.
Barbara Bush
To put it another way, every love relationship is based upon unwritten conventions rashly agreed upon by the lovers during the first weeks of their love. On the one hand, they are living a sort of dream; on the other, without realizing it, they are drawing up the fine print of their contracts like the most hard-nosed of lawyers. O lovers! Be wary during those perilous first days! If you serve the other party breakfast in bed, you will be obliged to continue same in perpetuity or face charges of animosity and treason!
Milan Kundera (The Book of Laughter and Forgetting)
When it comes right down to it, the challenge of mindfulness is to realize that “this is it” Right now is my life. The question is, What is my relationship to it going to be? Does my life just automatically “happen” to me? Am I a total prisoner of my circumstances or my obligations, of my body or my illness, or of my history? Do I become hostile or defensive or depressed if certain buttons get pushed, happy if other buttons are pushed, and frightened if something else happens? What are my choices? Do I have any options? We will be looking into these questions more deeply when we take up the subject of our reactions to stress and how our emotions affect our health. For now the important point is to grasp the value of bringing the practice of mindfulness into the conduct of our daily lives. Is there any waking moment of your life that would not be richer and more alive for you if you were more fully awake while it was happening?
Jon Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness)
Commitment is easy before a relationship requires compromise and obligation.
Padma Lakshmi (Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir)
Gifts from the earth or from each other establish a particular relationship, an obligation of sorts to give, to receive, and to reciprocate.
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants)
Every touchy-feely therapist will tell you to open up and express yourself, but all that leads to is the negotiation of desire and the disingenuous obligations based on those terms.
Rollo Tomassi (The Rational Male)
What else happened?' she asked, not because she was particularly interested, but because one must talk to one's mother when she came to visit one, however tired and dispirited one felt.
Monica Dickens (Mariana)
Housing projects are a great metaphor for the government's relationship to poor folks: these huge islands built mostly in the middle of nowhere, designed to warehouse lives. People are still people, though, so we turned the projects into real communities, poor or not. We played in fire hydrants and had cookouts and partied, music bouncing off concrete walls. But even when we could shake off the full weight of those imposing buildings and try to just live, the truth of our lives and struggle was still invisible to the larger country. The rest of the country was freed of any obligation to claim us. Which was fine, because we weren't really claiming them, either.
Jay-Z (Decoded)
The notion of obligations comes before that of rights, which is subordinate and relative to the former. A right is not effectual by itself, but only in relation to the obligation to which it corresponds, the effective exercise of a right springing not from the individual who possesses it, but from other men who consider themselves as being under a certain obligation towards him. Recognition of an obligation makes it effectual. An obligation which goes unrecognized by anybody loses none of the full force of its existence. A right which goes unrecognized by anybody is not worth very much. It makes nonsense to say that men have, on the one hand, rights, and on the other hand, obligations. Such words only express differences in point of view. The actual relationship between the two is as between object and subject. A man, considered in isolation, only has duties, amongst which are certain duties towards himself. A man left alone in the universe would have no rights whatever, but he would have obligations.
Simone Weil (The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties towards Mankind)
I learned two very important lessons from Carl Jung, the famous Swiss depth psychologist, about “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “loving your neighbour as yourself.” The first lesson was that neither of these statements has anything to do with being nice. The second was that both are equations, rather than injunctions. If I am someone’s friend, family member, or lover, then I am morally obliged to bargain as hard on my own behalf as they are on theirs. If I fail to do so, I will end up a slave, and the other person a tyrant. What good is that? It is much better for any relationship when both partners are strong. Furthermore, there is little difference between standing up and speaking for yourself, when you are being bullied or otherwise tormented and enslaved, and standing up and speaking for someone else. As Jung points out, this means embracing and loving the sinner who is yourself, as much as forgiving and aiding someone else who is stumbling and imperfect.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
I was obligated to be nice. I couldn’t be the one Canadian who ruined the country’s reputation. How could I live with myself if I caused a Yankee to say, “I used to think Canadians were so nice, then I met that asshole, Steve”?
Steven Barker (Now for the Disappointing Part: A Pseudo-Adult?s Decade of Short-Term Jobs, Long-Term Relationships, and Holding Out for Something Better)
Simple people with less education, sophistication, social ties, and professional obligations seem in general to have somewhat less difficulty in facing this final crisis than people of affluence who lose a great deal more in terms of material luxuries, comfort, and number of interpersonal relationships.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families)
just because society dictates certain norms and delivers them on a packhorse of guilt, it doesn’t mean we have to climb on. You deserve to be treated with respect by everyone you choose to have in your life. You deserve to be accepted for who you are. You have the right to be yourself because there is only one you. I think Dr. Seuss said it, didn’t he? Something about there is no one you-er than you?” She smiles. “My young friend, if someone does not grant you the respect you are due as a human being, no matter what their relationship to you, friend or blood, you have no obligation to suffer their presence in your life.
Eliza Gordon (Neurotica)
Being single offers the opportunity to spend time being purely who you are. Singles enjoy more freedom to explore, fewer obligations, and the ability to lounge around the house in a holey T-shirt, playing video games, with nobody the wiser.
Dossie Easton (The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love)
And yes, I say, I do like girls. I don't pursue them, though, and there are a lot of reasons for that. It's gotten me in trouble before, but I also think I have ridiculously high standards because the whole dating, fooling around thing seems so complicated. And not in a good way. I hate obligations, and if you want to be with a girl, it's like you're expected to do certain things. And do them a certain way.
Stephanie Kuehn (Charm & Strange)
You can see it as you walk through the street: people who have never recovered. You can see it on their face, in their posturing. It needn’t be that way. We really are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers … we really are obliged to put out our hand to someone who is in that state of shock or trauma because it could be us, just as easily.
Meryn G. Callander (After His Affair: Women Rising from the Ashes of Infidelity)
And, of course, there is the person you come back to: his face and body and voice and scent and touch, his way of waiting until you finish whatever you're saying, no matter how lengthy, before he speaks, the way his smile moves so slowly across his face that it reminds you of moonrise, how clearly he has missed you and how clearly happy he is to have you back. Then there are the things, if you are particularly lucky, that this person has done for you while you're away: how in the pantry, in the freezer, in the refrigerator will be all the food you like to eat, the scotch you like to drink. There will be the sweater you thought you lost the previous year at the theater, clean and folded and back on its shelf. There will be the shirt with its dangling buttons, but the buttons will be sewn back in place...And there will be no mention of it, and you will know that it was done with genuine pleasure, and you will know that part of the reason—a small part, but a part—you love being in this apartment and in this relationship is because this other person is always making a home for you, and that when you tell him this, he won't be offended but pleased, and you'll be glad, because you meant it with gratitude. And in these moments—almost a week back home—you will wonder why you leave so often, and you will wonder whether, after the next year's obligations are fulfilled, you ought not just stay here for a period, where you belong.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
When we mother well, we teach our children to embrace the moral obligations that build solid relationships, healthy marriages, and secure families.
Jani Ortlund (Fearlessly Feminine: Boldly Living God's Plan for Womanhood)
We owe it to our husband or wife, our fellow workers, our children, our friends, indeed to everyone who comes into our lives, to be as happy as we can be.
Dennis Prager
You married into the family. You have to love me. It's a contractual obligation.
Julia Quinn (It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7))
God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him. In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him. Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him. The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us. Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation? If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed? Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world? Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing. Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream. How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all? True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity. When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together. There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you. Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him? Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death? True love requires sacrifice. What are you doing right now that requires faith? God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. If one person “wastes” away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?” If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate. The way we live out our days is the way we will live our lives. What will people say about your life in heaven? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
Honesty can force any dysfunction in your life to the surface. Are you in an abusive relationship? A refusal to lie to others – How did you get that bruise? – would oblige you to come to grips with this situation very quickly. Do you have a problem with drugs or alcohol? Lying is the lifeblood of addiction. If we have no recourse to lies, our lives can unravel only so far without others noticing. Telling the truth can also reveal ways in which we want to grow but haven’t.
Sam Harris (Lying)
I must say that my father is innocent. I should say it. I have to say it. I’m obliged to say it. My father will kill me if I don’t say he is innocent. The children of murderers cannot kill the father.
Alejandro Zambra (Multiple Choice)
Here's the real secret: you can fulfill the commands of the Bible better by falling in love with God than by trying to obey him. It's not that your obedience isn't significant or relevant; it's simply not the center of the wheel. No, the hub of your life is your relationship with God. Your behavior and obedience radiate like spokes from the center of your life and allow you to roll forward. When you try to make your eternal behavior the hub on which you turn, you get stuck. Forward motion must be fueled by love.
Chris Hodges (Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God)
To the masculine lover – “Without a deep sense of purpose to direct your daily life, you will be directed by externals-financial need, your children’s needs, your lover’s needs-and you will begin to blame them for your lack of fulfillment. You will feel trapped in obligations, and your resentments will show. You will hold back in your relationships with your lover and family, not really wanting to be there, unsure what else to do, mired in ambiguity, guilt, and anger. Your actions will lack integrity and follow-through. Your feminine lover won’t be able to trust you in everyday life or open to you sexually.” Pg 121
David Deida
The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves: that firm strand which will be the indispensable center of a whole web of human relationships. She must find that inner stillness which Charles Morgan describes as 'the stilling of the soul within the activities of the mind and body so that it might be still as the axis of a revolving wheel is still.' This beautiful image is to my mind the one that women could hold before their eyes. This is an end toward which we could strive--to be the still axis within the revolving wheel of relationships, obligations, and activities. Solitude alone is not the answer to this; it is only a step toward it, a mechanical aid, like the 'room of one's own' demanded for women, before they could make their place in the world. The problem is not entirely in finding a room of one's own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as that is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact, the problem is how to feed the soul.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea)
The bond between food and me is like other relationships in my life: complicated, evolving, demanding, and in need of constant work. But together we’ve come so far, moving from my childhood obligation to clean my plate, to a mindless need to fill up, to a truly nourishing and pleasurable exchange. That’s the real reward.
Ashley Graham
Before entering into any kind of intimate relationships, whether friendship, familial re-connection, or romance, the idea of “needing” or “being needed” must be eliminated. It's harmful to me and others. Need is no kind of foundation for anything. Rather, I choose to be wanted. “Want” is a deliberate choice. Wanting is not based in fear or ego (which are one in the same, I believe). Want comes from recognition of someone else's goodness and loving them for it. Being wanted is unconditional. It does not require emotional games be played, it does not require reparations be made or obligations be met. Being wanted is good, in and of itself.
Jennifer DeLucy
Contrast toxic religion with the pure gospel. Religion is all about what I do. The gospel is all about what Jesus has done. Religion is about me. The gospel is about Jesus. Religion highlights my efforts to do what is right. The gospel highlights what Christ has already done. Religion lures me to believe that if I obey God, he will love me. But the gospel shows me that because God loves me, I get to obey him. Religion puts the burden on us. We have to do what is right. A relationship with Christ puts the burden on him. And because of what he did for us, we get to do what is right. Instead of an obligation, our right living is a response to his gift. Giving Christ our whole lives is the only reasonable response to such love. There nothing more we need to do. Nothing...
Craig Groeschel (Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World)
There seems to be something in our human nature that draws us away from a life-giving relationship with Jesus because it feels more comfortable to focus on what to do and not do. That tendency robs us of real joy and peace.
Chris Hodges (Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God)
You can say whatever you like to me. I'm your oyster." Before she could restrain herself, an appalled giggle escaped her. "Please don't say that. You're no such thing." "You can choose another word, if you like." Mr. Severin extended his arm to escort her downstairs. "But the fact is, if you ever need anything- any favor, any service, large or small- I'm the one to send for. No questions asked. No obligations attached. Will you remember that?" Cassandra hesitated before taking his arm. "I'll remember." As they proceeded to the first floor, she asked in bewilderment, "But why would you make such a promise?" "Haven't you ever liked someone or something right away, without knowing exactly why, but feeling sure you would discover the reasons later?" She couldn't help smiling at that, thinking, Yes, as a matter of fact. Just now. But it would be too forward to say so, and besides, it would be wrong to encourage him. "I would be glad to call you a friend, Mr. Severin. But I'm afraid marriage will never be a possibility. We don't suit. I could please you only in the most superficial ways." "I would be happy with that," he said. "Superficial relationships are my favorite kind." A regretful smile lingered at her lips. "Mr. Severin, you couldn't give me the life I've always dreamed of." "I hope your dream comes true, my lady. But if it doesn't, I could offer you some very satisfying substitutes." "Not if you're heart is frozen," Cassandra said. Mr. Severin grinned at that, and made no reply. But as they neared the last step, she heard his reflective, almost puzzled murmur. "Actually... I think it just thawed a little.
Lisa Kleypas (Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6))
And so, by circuitous and unpredictable routes, we converge toward midcontinent and meet in Madison, and are at once drawn together, braided and plaited into a friendship. It is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by neither law nor property nor blood, there is no glue in it, but mutual liking. It is therefore rare. To Sally and me, focused on each other and on the problems of getting on in a rough world, it happened unexpectedly; and in all our lives it has happened so thoroughly only once.
Wallace Stegner (Crossing to Safety)
How they became friends was no great mystery, but now they remained so, braided together beyond their shared college quarters, this transcended the usual alchemy of optimism and obligation that kept friendships intact, kept people from fading into other categories: old friend, college friend, just someone I once knew. None of the four would ever be just anything to the others...
Elizabeth Ames, The Other's Gold
Part of the apparently conventional nature of our relationships is the threat of separation and death. This body dies. That body dies. We can rejuvenate, feel better, live longer, but, even so, in this world everybody dies. That is why we do spiritual practice, because we are conscious of the destiny of our separation. We are willing to fulfill the law of love, but on the other hand what we love dies. That is why this is one of the realms of suffering. This world is not a heaven. This is not a place of fulfillment. Thus, we must yield to the true Condition. We must not become dependent upon the conventional aspect of our relations. We must recognize our relations. We must identify with the Condition of the loved one. You must become established in the real Condition, or you will never be satisfied. You will be driven to all kinds of preoccupations and great schemes, trying to become victorious or immortal, for immortality's own sake, simply because you cannot deal with the fact of death. But death is an absolute message in this realm. It obligates us to recognize or identify one another in Truth, and we are not relieved of that obligation in this place.
Adi Da Samraj (The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace: The Transcendental Principle of Life Applied to Diet and the Regenerative Discipline of True Health)
Most men and women born in the fifties or earlier were socialized to believe that marriages and/or committed romantic bonds of any kind should take precedence over all other relationships. Had I been evaluating my relationships from a standpoint that emphasized growth rather than duty and obligation, I would have understood that abuse irreparably undermines bonds. All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm's way.... Women who would no more tolerate a friendship in which they were emotionally and physically abused stay in romantic relationships where these violations occur regularly. Had they brought to these bonds the same standards they bring to friendship they would not accept victimization.
bell hooks (All About Love: New Visions)
An overload on emotional capacity is the reason people get to the point where they feel they cannot continue to stay in a relationship, remain at the same place of employment, continue in a one-sided friendship, struggle with the pressures created by a harmful spouse, try to meet unrealistic toxic family obligations, or whatever else might be at the core of an "I can't do this anymore" statement.
Shannon Thomas (Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse)
With a particular person in mind, or in anticipation of interacting with them, self-conception adjusts to create a shared reality. This means that when their perception of you is stereotypical, your own mind follows suit. For example, [Princeton University psychologist Stacey] Sinclair manipulated one group of women into thinking that they were about to spend some time with a charmingly sexist man. (Not a woman-hater, but the kind of man who thinks that women deserve to be cherished and protected by men, while being rather less enthusiastic about them being too confident and assertive.) Obligingly, the women socially tuned their view of themselves to better match these traditional opinions. They regarded themselves as more stereotypically feminine, compared with another group of women who were expecting instead to interact with a man with a more modern view of their sex. Interestingly, this social tuning only seems to happen when there is some sort of motivation for a good relationship. This suggests that close or powerful others in your life may be especially likely to act as a mirror in which you perceive your own qualities. (...) No doubt the female self and the male self can be as useful as any other social identity in the right circumstances. But flexible, context-sensitive, and useful is not the same as “hardwired”.
Cordelia Fine (Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference)
Though Kurt and Jimmy were not “family,” I invited them to be, and that invitation can sometimes be even more intimate than the connection to any blood relative. There was no biological obligation here; we were bonded for other reasons: our parallel spirits, our love of music, and our mutual appreciation. You cannot choose family, and when you lose family, there is a biological imperative that implies a built-in type of mourning. But with friends, you design your own relationship, which in turn designs your grief, which can be felt even deeper when they are gone. THOSE CAN BE ROOTS THAT ARE MUCH HARDER TO PULL.
Dave Grohl (The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music)
Are you very much aware of the spiritual battle raging within you? Do you realize that to have true relationship with God, you have to live a holy life—that you can’t walk in darkness and claim to have fellowship with Him? Are you willing to confess and forsake any sin in your life as you become aware of it? Do you realize you can choose not to sin—that you’re not fighting a battle you’re obliged to lose? But when you do fail, do you go to your divine Advocate?
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Saved Without A Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation)
I first met Winston Churchill in the early summer of 1906 at a dinner party to which I went as a very young girl. Our hostess was Lady Wemyss and I remember that Arthur Balfour, George Wyndman, Hilaire Belloc and Charles Whibley were among the guests… I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he seemed sunk in abstraction. Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen. “And I,” he said despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself. Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is this allotted span for all we must cram into it!” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life, the immensity of possible human accomplishment—a theme so well exploited by the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with new and startling significance. Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.” By this time I was convinced of it—and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed. Later he asked me whether I thought that words had a magic and music quite independent of their meaning. I said I certainly thought so, and I quoted as a classic though familiar instance the first lines that came into my head. Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. His eyes blazed with excitement. “Say that again,” he said, “say it again—it is marvelous!” “But I objected, “You know these lines. You know the ‘Ode to a Nightengale.’ ” He had apparently never read or heard of it before (I must, however, add that next time I met him he had not learned not merely this but all of the odes to Keats by heart—and he recited them quite mercilessly from start to finish, not sparing me a syllable). Finding that he liked poetry, I quoted to him from one of my own favorite poets, Blake. He listened avidly, repeating some lines to himself with varying emphases and stresses, then added meditatively: “I never knew that old Admiral had found so much time to write such good poetry.” I was astounded that he, with his acute susceptibility to words and power of using them, should have left such tracts of English literature entirely unexplored. But however it happened he had lost nothing by it, when he approached books it was “with a hungry, empty mind and with fairly srong jaws, and what I got I *bit*.” And his ear for the beauty of language needed no tuning fork. Until the end of dinner I listened to him spellbound. I can remember thinking: This is what people mean when they talk of seeing stars. That is what I am doing now. I do not to this day know who was on my other side. Good manners, social obligation, duty—all had gone with the wind. I was transfixed, transported into a new element. I knew only that I had seen a great light. I recognized it as the light of genius… I cannot attempt to analyze, still less transmit, the light of genius. But I will try to set down, as I remember them, some of the differences which struck me between him and all the others, young and old, whom I have known. First and foremost he was incalculable. He ran true to no form. There lurked in his every thought and world the ambush of the unexpected. I felt also that the impact of life, ideas and even words upon his mind, was not only vivid and immediate, but direct. Between him and them there was no shock absorber of vicarious thought or precedent gleaned either from books or other minds. His relationship wit
Violet Bonham Carter
Good manners lead to better relationships, more career success, and less personal stress. Manners are a relief, not a terrible obligation. It’s my belief that etiquette isn’t cold and formal; it’s warm and flexible. I am very con- cerned with manners, but I am not a robot. Manners are simply about asking yourself, What’s the right thing to do? I deeply believe that if we all have this simple question in our minds, we will do right by one another. From Gunn's Golden Rules Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work By Tim Gunn
Tim Gunn
The relations individuals enter into with other individuals nowadays have been described as ‘pure’ – meaning ‘no strings attached’, no unconditional obligations assumed and so no predetermination, and therefore no mortgaging, of the future. The sole foundation and only reason for the relationship to continue is, it has been said, the amount of mutual satisfaction drawn from it.
Zygmunt Bauman (Moral Blindness: The Loss of Sensitivity in Liquid Modernity)
Knowing one’s original face is the beginning of a life of love, of a life of celebration. You will be able to give so much love—because it is not something that is exhaustible. It is immeasurable, it cannot be exhausted. And the more you give it, the more you become capable of giving it. The greatest experience in life is when you simply give without any conditions, without any expectations of even a simple thank-you. On the contrary, a real, authentic love feels obliged to the person who has accepted his love. He could have rejected it. When you start giving love with a deep sense of gratitude to all those who accept it, you will be surprised that you have become an emperor—no longer a beggar asking for love with a begging bowl, knocking on every door. And those people on whose doors you are knocking cannot give you love; they are themselves beggars. Beggars are asking each other for love and feeling frustrated, angry, because the love is not coming. But this is bound to happen. Love belongs to the world of emperors, not of beggars. And a man is an emperor when he is so full of love that he can give it without any conditions.
Osho (Love, Freedom, and Aloneness: On Relationships, Sex, Meditation, and Silence)
Of all the homes I have known, yours has been a shining model of wisdom and kindness and honesty. For what you and your mother have done in the past, for me and for the child, I owe you a profound debt of honour. You have that claim on me. So has your mother. But if you press it too far; if you will accept no appeal and continue to press it, over and over; if you move into my life, both of you, and take your stance there and feel obliged to command and instruct me in how I should or should not behave, you will destroy our relationship. I shall walk away from you both; I shall deny you both; I shall repudiate all you have done for me. It will all be as if it had never happened … I don’t know what you fear for me, but that you should fear. For I cannot afford it.
Dorothy Dunnett (The Ringed Castle (The Lymond Chronicles, #5))
The Illusory Self I am composed of body and soul, I seem to have mind, reason, sense, yet I find none of them my own. For where was my body prior to my birth, and whither will it go when I have departed? Where are the various states produced by the life stages of an illusory self? Where is the newborn babe, the child, the boy, the pubescent, the stripling, the bearded youth, the lad, the full-grown man? Whence came the soul, whither will it go, how long will it be our mate? Can we tell its essential nature? When did we acquire it? Prior to our birth? But we were not then in existence. What of it after death? But then we who are embodied, compounds endowed with quality, shall be no more, but shall hasten to our rebirth, to be with the unbodied, without composition and without quality. But now, inasmuch as we are alive, we are the dominated rather than the rulers, known rather than knowing. The soul knows us, though unknown by us, and imposes commands we are obliged to obey as wervants their mistress. And when it will, it will transact its divorce in court and depart, leaving our home desolate of life. If we press it to remain, it will dissolve our relationship. So subtle is its nature that it furnishes no handle to the body.
Philo of Alexandria
If I am someone’s friend, family member, or lover, then I am morally obliged to bargain as hard on my own behalf as they are on theirs. If I fail to do so, I will end up a slave, and the other person a tyrant. What good is that? It is much better for any relationship when both partners are strong. Furthermore, there is little difference between standing up and speaking for yourself, when you are being bullied or otherwise tormented and enslaved, and standing up and speaking for someone else. As Jung points out, this means embracing and loving the sinner who is yourself, as much as forgiving and aiding someone else who is stumbling and imperfect.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
If, on the other hand, we read books entitled On Impulse not just out of idle curiosity, but in order to exercise impulse correctly; books entitled On Desire and On Aversion so as not to fail to get what we desire or fall victim to what we would rather avoid; and books entitled On Moral Obligation in order to honour our relationships and never do anything that clashes or conflicts with this principle; then we wouldn’t get frustrated and grow impatient with our reading. Instead we would be satisfied to act accordingly. And rather than reckon, as we are used to doing, ‘How many lines I read, or wrote, today,’ we would pass in review how ‘I applied impulse today the way the philosophers recommend
Epictetus (Of Human Freedom (Penguin Great Ideas))
The contents of this letter threw Elizabeth into a flutter of spirits in which it was difficult to determine whether pleasure or pain bore the greatest share. The vague and unsettled suspicions which uncertainty had produced of what Mr. Darcy might have been doing to forward her sister's match which she had feared to encourage as an exertion of goodness too great to be probable and at the same time dreaded to be just from the pain of obligation were proved beyond their greatest extent to be true He had followed them purposely to town he had taken on himself all the trouble and mortification attendant on such a research in which supplication had been necessary to a woman whom he must abominate and despise and where he was reduced to meet frequently meet reason with persuade and finally bribe the man whom he always most wished to avoid and whose very name it was punishment to him to pronounce. He had done all this for a girl whom he could neither regard nor esteem. Her heart did whisper that he had done it for her. But it was a hope shortly checked by other considerations and she soon felt that even her vanity was insufficient when required to depend on his affection for her—for a woman who had already refused him—as able to overcome a sentiment so natural as abhorrence against relationship with Wickham. Brother-in-law of Wickham Every kind of pride must revolt from the connection. He had to be sure done much. She was ashamed to think how much. But he had given a reason for his interference which asked no extraordinary stretch of belief. It was reasonable that he should feel he had been wrong he had liberality and he had the means of exercising it and though she would not place herself as his principal inducement she could perhaps believe that remaining partiality for her might assist his endeavours in a cause where her peace of mind must be materially concerned. It was painful exceedingly painful to know that they were under obligations to a person who could never receive a return. They owed the restoration of Lydia her character every thing to him. Oh how heartily did she grieve over every ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged every saucy speech she had ever directed towards him. For herself she was humbled but she was proud of him. Proud that in a cause of compassion and honour he had been able to get the better of himself. She read over her aunt's commendation of him again and again. It was hardly enough but it pleased her. She was even sensible of some pleasure though mixed with regret on finding how steadfastly both she and her uncle had been persuaded that affection and confidence subsisted between Mr. Darcy and herself.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
Love is always kind. Fear is always unkind. With fear we are full of obligations, full of expectations, with no respect, avoiding responsibility, and feeling sorry. How can we feel good when we are suffering from so much fear? We feel victimized by everything; we feel angry or sad or jealous or betrayed. Anger is nothing but fear with a mask. Sadness is fear with a mask. Jealousy is fear with a mask. With all those emotions that come from fear and create suffering, we can only pretend to be kind.
Miguel Ruiz (The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship (A Toltec Wisdom Book))
[T]he old stories of human relationships with animals can't be discounted. They are not primitive; they are primal. They reflect insights that came from considerable and elaborate systems of knowledge, intellectual traditions and ways of living that were tried, tested, and found true over many thousands of years and on all continents. But perhaps the truest story is with the animals themselves because we have found our exemplary ways through them, both in the older world and in the present time, both physically and spiritually. According to the traditions of the Seneca animal society, there were medicine animals in ancient times that entered into relationships with people. The animals themselves taught ceremonies that were to be performed in their names, saying they would provide help for humans if this relationship was kept. We have followed them, not only in the way the early European voyagers and prenavigators did, by following the migrations of whales in order to know their location, or by releasing birds from cages on their sailing vessels and following them towards land, but in ways more subtle and even more sustaining. In a discussion of the Wolf Dance of the Northwest, artists Bill Holm and William Reid said that 'It is often done by a woman or a group of women. The dance is supposed to come from the wolves. There are different versions of its origin and different songs, but the words say something like, 'Your name is widely known among the wolves. You are honored by the wolves.' In another recent account, a Northern Cheyenne ceremonialist said that after years spent recovering from removals and genocide, indigenous peoples are learning their lost songs back from the wolves who retained them during the grief-filled times, as thought the wolves, even though threatened in their own numbers, have had compassion for the people.... It seems we have always found our way across unknown lands, physical and spiritual, with the assistance of the animals. Our cultures are shaped around them and we are judged by the ways in which we treat them. For us, the animals are understood to be our equals. They are still our teachers. They are our helpers and healers. They have been our guardians and we have been theirs. We have asked for, and sometimes been given, if we've lived well enough, carefully enough, their extraordinary powers of endurance and vision, which we have added to our own knowledge, powers and gifts when we are not strong enough for the tasks required of us. We have deep obligations to them. Without other animals, we are made less. (from her essay "First People")
Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals)
Those who have taken a rather more pragmatic and individualist position on not having children tend to talk directly in terms of personal fulfillment. They have made a choice to live their lives in a particular way, associating motherhood with burden and loss—of freedom, energy, money, pleasure, intimacy, and even identity. A child is synonymous with sacrifice and frustrating, even repellent, obligations; it is perhaps a threat to the stability and happiness of one’s relationships. They refer to themselves as “child-free” rather than childless because they are free of children and therefore of motherhood.
Élisabeth Badinter (The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women)
If God is God, then He must be transcendent. But what I have a hard time believing is that this same God cares about me. That He delights in me. That He thinks I am more valuable than the hundreds of snowcapped peaks in Colorado. That He can’t wait until I wake up so He can see my eyes and hear my voice. That He desires to be in relationship with me—not out of obligation, but out of sheer delight. I know that He is sovereign. But He wants to be my friend? He wants to have a relationship with me? And He wants this so badly that no matter what I do, He will keep on pursuing me, chasing me, and never give up?
Preston Sprinkle (Charis: God's Scandalous Grace for Us)
I definitely felt attracted to some people, and I liked the idea of being with someone, but the actual mechanics of it didn't much suit my talents. Like, parts of typical romantic relationships that made me anxious included 1. Kissing; 2. Having to say the right things to avoid hurt feelings; 3. Saying more wrong things while trying to apologize; 4. Being at a movie theater and feeling obligated to hold hands even after your hands become sweaty and the sweat starts mixing together; and 5. The part where they say, "What are you thinking about?" And they want you to be, like, "I'm thinking about you, darling," but you're actually thinking about how cows literally could not survive if it weren't for the bacteria in their guts, and how that sort of means that cows do not exist as independent life-forms, but that's not really something you can say out loud, so you're ultimately forced to choose between lying and seeming weird.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
Antigay activists have historically maintained that same-sex sexuality is a lifestyle choice that should be discouraged, deemed illegitimate, and even punished by the culture at large. In other words, if lesbian/gay/bisexual people to not have to be gay but are simply choosing a path of decadence and deviance, then the government should have no obligation to protect their civil rights or honor their relationships; to the contrary, the state should actively condemn same-sex sexuality and deny it legal and social recognition in order to discourage others from following that path. Not surprisingly, advocates for gay/lesbian/bisexual rights see things differently. They counter that sexual orientation is not a matter of choice but an inborn trait that is much beyond an individual's control as skin or eye color. Accordingly, since gay/lesbian/bisexual individuals cannot choose to be heterosexual, it is unethical to discriminate against them and to deny legal recognition to same-sex relationships. (...) Perhaps instead of arguing that gay/lesbian/bisexual individuals deserve civil rights because they are powerless to change their behavior, we should affirm the fundamental rights of all people to determine their own emotional and sexual lives.
L. B. Diamond (Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire)
Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated and fraught with the effects of moments from the past. My mom knew this and wanted me to know it too. On one visit home, I found an essay from the Washington Post by the linguistics professor Deborah Tannen that had been cut out and left on my desk. My mom, and her mom before her, loved clipping newspaper articles and cartoons from the paper to send to Barbara and me. This article was different. Above it, my mom had written a note: “Dear Benny”—I was “Benny” from the time I was a toddler; the family folklore was that when we were babies, a man approached my parents, commenting on their cute baby boys, and my parents played along, pretending our names were Benjamin and Beauregard, later shorted to Benny and Bo. In her note, my mom confessed to doing many things that the writer of this piece had done: checking my hair, my appearance. As a teenager, I was continually annoyed by some of her requests: comb your hair; pull up your jeans (remember when low-rise jeans were a thing? It was not a good look, I can assure you!). “Your mother may assume it goes without saying that she is proud of you,” Deborah Tannen wrote. “Everyone knows that. And everyone probably also notices that your bangs are obscuring your vision—and their view of your eyes. Because others won’t say anything, your mother may feel it’s her obligation to tell you.” In leaving her note and the clipping, my mom was reminding me that she accepted and loved me—and that there is no perfect way to be a mother. While we might have questioned some of the things our mother said, we never questioned her love.
Jenna Bush Hager (Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life)
There is humility in confession. A recognition of flaws. To hear myself say out loud these shameful secrets meant I acknowledged my flaws. I also for the first time was given the opportunity to contextualize anew the catalogue of beliefs and prejudices, simply by exposing them to another, for the first time hearing the words ‘Yes, but have you looked at it this way?’ This was a helpful step in gaining a new perspective on my past, and my past was a significant proportion of who I believed myself to be. It felt like I had hacked into my own past. Unravelled all the erroneous and poisonous information I had unconsciously lived with and lived by and with necessary witness, the accompaniment of another man, reset the beliefs I had formed as a child and left unamended through unnecessary fear. Suddenly my fraught and freighted childhood became reasonable and soothed. ‘My mum was doing her best, so was my dad.’ Yes, people made mistakes but that’s what humans do, and I am under no obligation to hoard these errors and allow them to clutter my perception of the present. Yes, it is wrong that I was abused as a child but there is no reason for me to relive it, consciously or unconsciously, in the way I conduct my adult relationships. My perceptions of reality, even my own memories, are not objective or absolute, they are a biased account and they can be altered. It is possible to reprogram your mind. Not alone, because a tendency, a habit, an addiction will always reassert by its own invisible momentum, like a tide. With this program, with the support of others, and with this mysterious power, this new ability to change, we achieve a new perspective, and a new life.
Russell Brand (Recovery: Freedom from Our Addiction)
When one man has been under very remarkable obligations to another, with whom he subsequently quarrels, a common sense of decency, as it were, makes of the former a much severer enemy than a mere stranger would be. To account for your own hard-heartedness and ingratitude in such a case, you are bound to prove the other party's crime. It is not that you are selfish, brutal, and angry at the failure of a speculation--no, no--it is that your partner has led you into it by the basest treachery and with the most sinister motives. From a mere sense of consistency, a persecutor is bound to show that the fallen man is a villain--otherwise he, the persecutor, is a wretch himself.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
If your boundaries have been injured, you may find that when you are in conflict with someone, you shut down without even being aware of it. This isolates us from love, and keeps us from taking in safe people. Kate had been quite controlled by her overprotective mother. She’d always been warned that she was sickly, would get hit by cars, and didn’t know how to care for herself well. So she fulfilled all those prophecies. Having no sense of strong boundaries, Kate had great difficulty taking risks and connecting with people. The only safe people were at her home. Finally, however, with a supportive church group, Kate set limits on her time with her mom, made friends in her singles’ group, and stayed connected to her new spiritual family. People who have trouble with boundaries may exhibit the following symptoms: blaming others, codependency, depression, difficulties with being alone, disorganization and lack of direction, extreme dependency, feelings of being let down, feelings of obligation, generalized anxiety, identity confusion, impulsiveness, inability to say no, isolation, masochism, overresponsibility and guilt, panic, passive-aggressive behavior, procrastination and inability to follow through, resentment, substance abuse and eating disorders, thought problems and obsessive-compulsive problems, underresponsibility, and victim mentality.
Henry Cloud (Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't)
It is possible in a city street neighborhood to know all kinds of people without unwelcome entanglements, without boredom, necessity for excuses, explanations, fears of giving offense, embarrassments respecting impositions or commitments, and all such paraphernalia of obligations which can accompany less limited relationships. It is possible to be on excellent sidewalk terms with people who are very different from oneself, and even, as time passes, on familiar public terms with them. Such relationships can, and do, endure for many years, for decades; they could never have formed without that line, much less endured. The form precisely because they are by-the-way to people’s normal public sorties. ‘Togetherness’ is a fittingly nauseating name for an old ideal in planning theory. This ideal is that if anything is shared among people, much should be shared. ‘Togetherness,’ apparently a spiritual resource of the new suburbs, works destructively in cities. The requirement that much shall be shared drives city people apart. When an area of a city lacks a sidewalk life, the people of the place must enlarge their private lives is they are to have anything approaching equivalent contact with their neighbors. They must settle for some form of ‘togetherness,’ in which more is shared with one another than in the life of the sidewalks, or else they must settle for lack of contact. Inevitably the outcome is one or the other; it has to be, and either has distressing results. In the case of the first outcome, where people do share much, they become exceedingly choosy as to who their neighbors are, or with whom they associate at all. They have to become so.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
Sentences like the following are found in many mystical and reactionary writings though not as clearly formulated as by Hutten: ''Kulturbolschewismus is nothing new. It is based on a striving which humanity has had since its earliest days: the longing for happiness. It is the eternal nostalgia for paradise on earth . . . The religion of faith is replaced by the religion of pleasure.'' We, on the other hand, ask: Why not happiness on earth? Why should not pleasure be the content of life? If one were to put this question to a general vote, no reactionary ideology could stand up. The reactionary also recognizes, though in a mystical manner, the connection between mysticism and compulsive marriage and family: ''Because of this responsibility (for the possible consequences of pleasure), society has created the institution of marriage which, as a lifelong union, provides the protective frame for the sexual relationship.'' Right after this, we find the whole register of "cultural values" which, in the framework of reactionary ideology, fit together like the parts of a machine: ''Marriage as a tie, the family as a duty, the fatherland as value of its own, morality as authority, religion as obligation from eternity.'' It would be impossible better to describe the rigidity of human plasma!
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
We have no obligation to endure or enable certain types of certain toxic relationships. The Christian ethic muddies these waters because we attach the concept of long-suffering to these damaging connections. We prioritize proximity over health, neglecting good boundaries and adopting a Savior role for which we are ill-equipped. Who else we'll deal with her?, we say. Meanwhile, neither of you moves towards spiritual growth. She continues toxic patterns and you spiral in frustration, resentment and fatigue. Come near, dear one, and listen. You are not responsible for the spiritual health of everyone around you. Nor must you weather the recalcitrant behavior of others. It is neither kind nor gracious to enable. We do no favors for an unhealthy friend by silently enduring forever. Watching someone create chaos without accountability is not noble. You won't answer for the destructive habits of an unsafe person. You have a limited amount of time and energy and must steward it well. There is a time to stay the course and a time to walk away. There's a tipping point when the effort becomes useless, exhausting beyond measure. You can't pour antidote into poison forever and expect it to transform into something safe, something healthy. In some cases, poison is poison and the only sane response is to quit drinking it. This requires honest self evaluation, wise counselors, the close leadership of the Holy Spirit, and a sober assessment of reality. Ask, is the juice worth the squeeze here. And, sometimes, it is. You might discover signs of possibility through the efforts, or there may be necessary work left and it's too soon to assess. But when an endless amount of blood, sweat and tears leaves a relationship unhealthy, when there is virtually no redemption, when red flags are frantically waved for too long, sometimes the healthiest response is to walk away. When we are locked in a toxic relationship, spiritual pollution can murder everything tender and Christ-like in us. And a watching world doesn't always witness those private kill shots. Unhealthy relationships can destroy our hope, optimism, gentleness. We can lose our heart and lose our way while pouring endless energy into an abyss that has no bottom. There is a time to put redemption in the hands of God and walk away before destroying your spirit with futile diligence.
Jen Hatmaker (For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards)
This was a helpful step in gaining a new perspective on my past, and my past was a significant proportion of who I believed myself to be. It felt like I had hacked into my own past. Unravelled all the erroneous and poisonous information I had unconsciously lived with and lived by and with necessary witness, the accompaniment of another man, reset the beliefs I had formed as a child and left unamended through unnecessary fear. Suddenly my fraught and freighted childhood became reasonable and soothed. ‘My mum was doing her best, so was my dad.’ Yes, people made mistakes but that’s what humans do, and I am under no obligation to hoard these errors and allow them to clutter my perception of the present. Yes, it is wrong that I was abused as a child but there is no reason for me to relive it, consciously or unconsciously, in the way I conduct my adult relationships. My perceptions of reality, even my own memories, are not objective or absolute, they are a biased account and they can be altered.
Russell Brand
People who think that queer life consists of sex without intimacy are usually seeing only a tiny part of the picture, and seeing it through homophobic stereotype. The most fleeting sexual encounter is, in its way intimate. And in the way many gay men and lesbians live, quite casual sexual relations can develop into powerful and enduring friendships. Friendships, in turn, can cross into sexual relations and back. Because gay social life is not as ritualized and institutionalized as straight life, each relation is an adventure in nearly un-charted territory—whether it is between two gay men, or two lesbians, or a gay man and a lesbian, or among three or more queers, or between gay men and the straight women whose commitment to queer culture brings them the punishment of the "fag hag" label. There are almost as many kinds of relationship as there are people in combination. Where there are -patterns, we learn them from other queers, not from our-parents or schools or the state. Between tricks and lovers and exes and friends and fuckbuddies and bar friends and bar friends' tricks and tricks' bar friends and gal pals and companions "in the life," queers have an astonishing range of intimacies. Most have no labels. Most receive no public recognition. Many of these relations are difficult because the rules have to be invented as we go along. Often desire and unease add to their intensity, and their unpredictability. They can be complex and bewildering, in a way that arouses fear among many gay people, and tremendous resistance and resentment from many straight people. Who among us would give them up? Try standing at a party of queer friends and charting all the histories, sexual and nonsexual, among the people in the room. (In some circles this is a common party sport already.) You will realize that only a fine and rapidly shifting line separates sexual culture from many other relations of durability and care. The impoverished vocabulary of straight culture tells us that people should be either husbands and wives or (nonsexual) friends. Marriage marks that line. It is not the way many queers live. If there is such a thing as a gay way of life, it consists in these relations, a welter of intimacies outside the framework of professions and institutions and ordinary social obligations. Straight culture has much to learn from it, and in many ways has already begun to learn from it. Queers should be insisting on teaching these lessons. Instead, the marriage issue, as currently framed, seems to be a way of denying recognition to these relations, of streamlining queer relations into the much less troubling division of couples from friends.
Michael Warner (The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life)
In the play of living we engage in three fundamental forms of action. We begin things, we continue to be engaged in things, and we bring things to an end. We are each obligated to be capable of fulfilling these three forms of action relative to every condition in our experience. To suffer disability relative to any of these three forms of action relative to any condition in our experience is to accumulate a tendency relative to that condition. Such is the way we develop our conventional "karmas." By virtue of such accumulations we are obliged to suffer repetitions of circumstances, in this life and from life to life, until we overcome the liability in our active relationship to each condition that binds us. In the manifest process of existence, we and all other functions in the play are under the same lawful obligation to create, sustain, and destroy conditions or patterns that arise. The inhibition or suppression of the ability to create conditions (or to realize that conditions are your creation and responsibility) is reflected as "tamas," or rigidity, inertia, indolence, and laziness. The inhibition or suppression of the ability to sustain (or to realize that the maintenance of conditions is your responsibility) is reflected as "rajas," or unsteadiness of life and attention, and negative and random excitation or emotion. The inhibition or suppression of the ability to destroy or become free of conditions (or to realize that the cessation of conditions is your responsibility) is reflected as artificial "sattwa," sentimentality, romance, sorrow, bondage to subjectivity, and no comprehension of the mystery of death.
Adi Da Samraj (The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace: The Transcendental Principle of Life Applied to Diet and the Regenerative Discipline of True Health)
I wonder if all these bad things will change when I’m a high schooler…” “At the very least, they most certainly won’t change if you intend to remain the way you are.” Way to go, Yukinoshita-san! Not going easy on the young'un just after you finished apologizing to her! “But it’s enough if the people around you change,” I remarked. “There’s no need to force yourself to hang out with others.” “But things are hard on Rumi­-chan right now and if we don’t do something about it…” Yuigahama looked at Rumi with eyes full of concern. In response, Rumi winced slightly. “Hard, you say… I don’t like that. It makes me sound pathetic. It makes me feel inferior for being left out.” “Oh,” said Yuigahama. “I don’t like it, you know. But there’s nothing you can do about it.” “Why?” Yukinoshita questioned her. Rumi seemed to have some trouble speaking, but she still managed to form the right words. “I… got abandoned. I can’t get along with them anymore. Even if I did, I don’t know when it’ll start again. If the same thing were to happen, I guess I’m better off this way. I just­” She swallowed. “­don’t wanna be pathetic…” Oh. I get it. This girl was fed up. Of herself and of her surroundings. If you change yourself, your world will change, they say, but that’s a load of crap. When people already have an impression of you, it’s not easy to change your pre­existing relationships by adding something to the mix. When people evaluate each other, it’s not an addition or subtraction formula. They only perceive you through their preconceived notions. The truth is that people don’t see you as who you truly are. They only see what they want to see, the reality that they yearn for. If some disgusting guy on the low end of the caste works his arse off on something, the higher ones just snicker and say, “What’s he trying so hard for?” and that would be the end of it. If you stand out for the wrong reasons, you would just be fodder for criticism. That wouldn’t be the case in a perfect world, but for better or worse, that’s how things work with middle schoolers. Riajuu are sought for their actions as riajuu, loners are obligated to be loners, and otaku are forced to act like otaku. When the elites show their understanding of those beneath them, they are acknowledged for their open-mindedness and the depth of their benevolence, but the reverse is not tolerated. Those are the fetid rules of the Kingdom of Children. It truly is a sad state of affairs. "You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself". The hell was up with that? Adapting and conforming to a cruel and indifferent world you know you’ve already lost to – ultimately, that’s what a slave does. Wrapping it up in pretty words and deceiving even yourself is the highest form of falsehood.
Wataru Watari (やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。4)
Patriotism comes from the same Latin word as father. Blind patriotism is collective transference. In it the state becomes a parent and we citizens submit our loyalty to ensure its protection. We may have been encouraged to make that bargain from our public school education, our family home, religion, or culture in general. We associate safety with obedience to authority, for example, going along with government policies. We then make duty, as it is defined by the nation, our unquestioned course. Our motivation is usually not love of country but fear of being without a country that will defend us and our property. Connection is all-important to us; excommunication is the equivalent of death, the finality we can’t dispute. Healthy adult loyalty is a virtue that does not become blind obedience for fear of losing connection, nor total devotion so that we lose our boundaries. Our civil obedience can be so firm that it may take precedence over our concern for those we love, even our children. Here is an example: A young mother is told by the doctor that her toddler is allergic to peanuts and peanut oil. She lets the school know of her son’s allergy when he goes to kindergarten. Throughout his childhood, she is vigilant and makes sure he is safe from peanuts in any form. Eighteen years later, there is a war and he is drafted. The same mother, who was so scrupulously careful about her child’s safety, now waves goodbye to him with a tear but without protest. Mother’s own training in public school and throughout her life has made her believe that her son’s life is expendable whether or not the war in question is just. “Patriotism” is so deeply ingrained in her that she does not even imagine an alternative, even when her son’s life is at stake. It is of course also true that, biologically, parents are ready to let children go just as the state is ready to draft them. What a cunning synchronic-ity. In addition, old men who decide on war take advantage of the timing too. The warrior archetype is lively in eighteen-year-olds, who are willing to fight. Those in their mid-thirties, whose archetype is being a householder and making a mark in their chosen field, will not show an interest in battlefields of blood. The chiefs count on the fact that young braves will take the warrior myth literally rather than as a metaphor for interior battles. They will be willing to put their lives on the line to live out the collective myth of societies that have not found the path of nonviolence. Our collective nature thus seems geared to making war a workable enterprise. In some people, peacemaking is the archetype most in evidence. Nature seems to have made that population smaller, unfortunately. Our culture has trained us to endure and tolerate, not to protest and rebel. Every cell of our bodies learned that lesson. It may not be virtue; it may be fear. We may believe that showing anger is dangerous, because it opposes the authority we are obliged to appease and placate if we are to survive. This explains why we so admire someone who dares to say no and to stand up or even to die for what he believes. That person did not fall prey to the collective seduction. Watching Jeopardy on television, I notice that the audience applauds with special force when a contestant risks everything on a double-jeopardy question. The healthy part of us ardently admires daring. In our positive shadow, our admiration reflects our own disavowed or hidden potential. We, too, have it in us to dare. We can stand up for our truth, putting every comfort on the line, if only we can calm our long-scared ego and open to the part of us that wants to live free. Joseph Campbell says encouragingly, “The part of us that wants to become is fearless.” Religion and Transference Transference is not simply horizontal, from person to person, but vertical from person to a higher power, usually personified as God. When
David Richo (When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships)
But it is the nature of narcissistic entitlement to see the situation from only one very subjective point of view that says “My feelings and needs are all that matter, and whatever I want, I should get.” Mutuality and reciprocity are entirely alien concepts, because others exist only to agree, obey, flatter, and comfort – in short, to anticipate and meet my every need. If you cannot make yourself useful in meeting my need, you are of no value and will most likely be treated accordingly, and if you defy my will, prepare to feel my wrath. Hell hath no fury like the Narcissist denied. Narcissists hold these unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves uniquely special. In social situations, you will talk about them or what they are interested in because they are more important, more knowledgeable, or more captivating than anyone else. Any other subject is boring and won’t hold interest, and, in their eyes, they most certainly have a right to be entertained. In personal relationships, their sense of entitlement means that you must attend to their needs but they are under no obligation to listen to or understand you. If you insist that they do, you are “being difficult” or challenging their rights. How dare you put yourself before me? they seem to (or may actually) ask. And if they have real power over you, they feel entitled to use you as they see fit and you must not question their authority. Any failure to comply will be considered an attack on their superiority. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger rage and self-righteous aggression. The conviction of entitlement is a holdover from the egocentric stage of early childhood, around the age of one to two, when children experience a natural sense of grandiosity that is an essential part of their development. This is a transitional phase, and soon it becomes necessary for them to integrate their feelings of self-importance and invincibility with an awareness of their real place in the overall scheme of things that includes a respect for others. In some cases, however, the bubble of specialness is never popped, and in others the rupture is too harsh or sudden, as when a parent or caretaker shames excessively or fails to offer soothing in the wake of a shaming experience. Whether overwhelmed with shame or artificially protected from it, children whose infantile fantasies are not gradually transformed into a more balanced view of themselves in relation to others never get over the belief that they are the center of the universe. Such children may become self-absorbed “Entitlement monsters,” socially inept and incapable of the small sacrifices of Self that allow for reciprocity in personal relationships. The undeflated child turns into an arrogant adult who expects others to serve as constant mirrors of his or her wonderfulness. In positions of power, they can be egotistical tyrants who will have their way without regard for anyone else. Like shame, the rage that follows frustrated entitlement is a primitive emotion that we first learn to manage with the help of attuned parents. The child’s normal narcissistic rages, which intensify during the power struggles of age eighteen to thirty months – those “terrible twos” – require “optimal frustration” that is neither overly humiliating nor threatening to the child’s emerging sense of Self. When children encounter instead a rageful, contemptuous or teasing parent during these moments of intense arousal, the image of the parent’s face is stored in the developing brain and called up at times of future stress to whip them into an aggressive frenzy. Furthermore, the failure of parental attunement during this crucial phase can interfere with the development of brain functions that inhibit aggressive behavior, leaving children with lifelong difficulties controlling aggressive impulses.
Sandy Hotchkiss (Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism)
She was the first close friend who I felt like I’d re­ally cho­sen. We weren’t in each other’s lives be­cause of any obli­ga­tion to the past or con­ve­nience of the present. We had no shared his­tory and we had no rea­son to spend all our time to­ gether. But we did. Our friend­ship in­ten­si­fied as all our friends had chil­dren – she, like me, was un­con­vinced about hav­ing kids. And she, like me, found her­self in a re­la­tion­ship in her early thir­ties where they weren’t specif­i­cally work­ing to­wards start­ing a fam­ily. By the time I was thirty-four, Sarah was my only good friend who hadn’t had a baby. Ev­ery time there was an­other preg­nancy an­nounce­ment from a friend, I’d just text the words ‘And an­other one!’ and she’d know what I meant. She be­came the per­son I spent most of my free time with other than Andy, be­cause she was the only friend who had any free time. She could meet me for a drink with­out plan­ning it a month in ad­vance. Our friend­ship made me feel lib­er­ated as well as safe. I looked at her life choices with no sym­pa­thy or con­cern for her. If I could ad­mire her de­ci­sion to re­main child-free, I felt en­cour­aged to ad­mire my own. She made me feel nor­mal. As long as I had our friend­ship, I wasn’t alone and I had rea­son to be­lieve I was on the right track. We ar­ranged to meet for din­ner in Soho af­ter work on a Fri­day. The waiter took our drinks or­der and I asked for our usual – two Dirty Vodka Mar­ti­nis. ‘Er, not for me,’ she said. ‘A sparkling wa­ter, thank you.’ I was ready to make a joke about her un­char­ac­ter­is­tic ab­sti­nence, which she sensed, so as soon as the waiter left she said: ‘I’m preg­nant.’ I didn’t know what to say. I can’t imag­ine the ex­pres­sion on my face was par­tic­u­larly en­thu­si­as­tic, but I couldn’t help it – I was shocked and felt an un­war­ranted but in­tense sense of be­trayal. In a de­layed re­ac­tion, I stood up and went to her side of the ta­ble to hug her, un­able to find words of con­grat­u­la­tions. I asked what had made her change her mind and she spoke in va­garies about it ‘just be­ing the right time’ and wouldn’t elab­o­rate any fur­ther and give me an an­swer. And I needed an an­swer. I needed an an­swer more than any­thing that night. I needed to know whether she’d had a re­al­iza­tion that I hadn’t and, if so, I wanted to know how to get it. When I woke up the next day, I re­al­ized the feel­ing I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing was not anger or jeal­ousy or bit­ter­ness – it was grief. I had no one left. They’d all gone. Of course, they hadn’t re­ally gone, they were still my friends and I still loved them. But huge parts of them had dis­ap­peared and there was noth­ing they could do to change that. Un­less I joined them in their spa­ces, on their sched­ules, with their fam­i­lies, I would barely see them. And I started dream­ing of an­other life, one com­pletely re­moved from all of it. No more chil­dren’s birth­day par­ties, no more chris­ten­ings, no more bar­be­cues in the sub­urbs. A life I hadn’t ever se­ri­ously con­tem­plated be­fore. I started dream­ing of what it would be like to start all over again. Be­cause as long as I was here in the only Lon­don I knew – mid­dle-class Lon­don, cor­po­rate Lon­don, mid-thir­ties Lon­don, mar­ried Lon­don – I was in their world. And I knew there was a whole other world out there.
Dolly Alderton (Good Material)
Sometimes,” she told me, “a girl will give a guy a blow job at the end of the night because she doesn’t want to have sex with him and he expects to be satisfied. So if I want him to leave and I don’t want anything to happen . . .” She trailed off, leaving me to imagine the rest. There was so much to unpack in that short statement: why a young man should expect to be sexually satisfied; why a girl not only isn’t outraged, but considers it her obligation to comply; why she doesn’t think a blow job constitutes “anything happening”; the pressure young women face in any personal relationship to put others’ needs before their own; the potential justification of assault with a chaser of self-blame. “It goes back to girls feeling guilty,” Anna said. “If you go to a guy’s room and are hooking up with him, you feel bad leaving him without pleasing him in some way. But, you know, it’s unfair. I don’t think he feels badly for you.” In their research on high school girls and oral sex, April Burns, a professor of psychology at City University of New York, and her colleagues found that girls thought of fellatio kind of like homework: a chore to get done, a skill to master, one on which they expected to be evaluated, possibly publicly. As with schoolwork, they worried about failing or performing poorly—earning the equivalent of low marks. Although they took satisfaction in a task well done, the pleasure they described was never physical, never located in their own bodies. They were both dispassionate and nonpassionate about oral sex—socialized, the researchers concluded, to see themselves as “learners” in their encounters rather than “yearners.” The concern with pleasing, as opposed to pleasure, was pervasive among the girls I met, especially among high schoolers, who were just starting sexual experimentation.
Peggy Orenstein (Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape)
Jane, I don’t care what capacity you let me have in your life. I just want to be there. And if that means I have to keep my distance, I’ll do that.” I sighed. If ever there was a time for me to lay all my cards on the table, this was it. Naked, wounded, and vulnerable. “So, here’s my basic problem with us, the reason I can’t seem to relax into a relationship with you, the reason I find problems where none exist and I push you away. I—I can’t figure out why you’re with me!” I exclaimed, clapping my hand over my mouth. I hadn’t meant for that part to come out. I had meant to say, “You lie and hide things from me.” Gabriel pried my fingers away from my lips. My hands trembled as stuff I’d been feeling for months tumbled from my tongue. “I know that makes me neurotic and sad, but I can’t figure out why you want to be with me. Every other woman in your life is exotic and beautiful and has all this history. And I’m just some drunk girl you followed home from a bar, some pathetic human you felt your usual need to protect, and you got stuck with a lifetime tie to her because she was dumb enough to get shot. I can’t stand the idea that you feel obligated to me. I know I’m insecure and pushy and spastic, desperately inappropriate at times and just plain odd at others. And I can’t help but wonder why you would want that when there are obviously so many other options. I can’t help but feel that I’m keeping you from someone better.” I let out a loud, long breath. It felt as if some tremendous weight on my chest had wiggled loose and then dropped away. No more running. No more floating along and waiting. My cards were on the table. If Gabriel and I couldn’t have a future after this, it wasn’t because I held back from him. Now I could only hope it didn’t blow up in my face in some horrible way. I wasn’t sure my face could handle much more. Gabriel sighed and cupped my chin, forcing me to look him in the eye. “I didn’t follow you that night because I wanted to protect you. I followed you that night because you were one of the most interesting people I’d met in decades. You had this light about you, this sweetness, this biting humor. After I’d only known you for an hour, you made me laugh harder than I had since before I was turned. You made me feel normal, at peace, for the first time in years. And I didn’t want to lose that yet. Even if it was just watching over you from a mile away, I didn’t want to leave your presence. I followed you because I didn’t want to let you go. Even then, I saw you were one of the most extraordinary, fascinating, maddening people I would ever know. Even then, I think I knew that I would love you. If you don’t love me, that’s one thing. But if you do, just stop arguing with me about it. It’s annoying. ” “Fair enough,” I conceded. “Why the hell couldn’t you have told me this a year ago?” “I’ve wanted to. You weren’t ready to hear it.
Molly Harper (Nice Girls Don't Live Forever (Jane Jameson, #3))
For members of a particular religious community, the sense of obligation takes a specific form when it comes to their commitment to each other. In the movie Shall We Dance?, Richard Gere plays a bored middle-aged attorney who surreptitiously takes up ballroom dancing. His wife, played by Susan Sarandon, becomes suspicious at his renewed energy and vitality. She hires a private detective, who discovers the dance studio and reports the news. She decides to let her husband continue dancing undisturbed. In the scene where she meets the private detective in a bar to pay his fee and end the investigation, they linger over a drink and discuss why people marry in the first place. The detective, whose countless investigations into infidelity have rendered him cynical about marriage, suggests that the desire to marry has something to do with hormones and passing fancy. She disagrees. The reason we marry, she insists, is that “we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet. . . . I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things . . . all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’ ” The sacramental bond that unites two people in a marriage or committed relationship is known as a covenant. A covenant—the word means mutual agreement—is a promise to bear witness to the life of another: the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things. At its heart, the relationship among members of a religious community is covenantal as well. As with marriage, the relationship also includes other dimensions, such as friendship and perhaps financial and/or legal partnership. But the defining commitment that members of a religious community make to each other arises from their calling—their covenantal duty—to bear witness to each other’s lives: the lives they now lead and the lives they hope to lead in the future, and the world they now occupy and the world they hope to occupy in the future.
Galen Guengerich (God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age)