Duties and Dreams
Are duties in life a hindrance to our dreams? Most are afraid of whether they or others would not be able to fulfill their duties if they go after their dreams. This has been a limiting belief that not only puts one's own dreams to the sidelines but also has been pressed by others onto us. Well the good news is that you can pursue your dreams while sticking to your duties. But at first you have to believe it is possible.
Who defines your duties? It can be influenced by your religion or culture, but is finalized by your values and ethics. I look into my religion for guidelines on duties and since one of my important value is faith in God, I only think of being answerable to God, not the society. Family, security, freedom, adventure, patience, optimism, commitment and loyalty are some examples of values. Aligning your values along with the duties of different roles in life is an important factor towards satisfaction. If it is a duty bound in a relationship, ask the person on the receiving end what they really need from you. We fail to understand what they want, assume what they need, intend to give something good but at the end, they receive something else that they are not happy with. A child might want more quality time, with affection and conversations, than other duties parents carry out. If any relationship expects beyond your means, disrupting your life, communicate openly and discuss to understand each others perspectives. Seek external support when the relationship turns toxic.
Don't force your duties onto others while blindly following your dreams. Talk with those around you, ask politely if they can support you and help you to carry out the duties. Taking care of the parent is the duty of their son, not the daughter in law. But a husband can ask his life partner for support and discuss it , not impose it on her. Similarly, it is a parents duty to look after their children, but they can seek assistance from others.
Sometimes in life, you can put your dreams on pause, if that is what fulfills your value more at that time. Or you can realign your dreams to fulfill your values in the duties. If the path towards your dream doesn't bring about your values in the roles of life, you can't enjoy true contentment.
Pursuing one's dream actually helps in the quality of relationships. It fills happiness from inside. You will be able to impart this happiness into all the relationships in your life, without expecting anyone else to fill it in for you. Thus you will take up your duties not as burden, but as labor of love.
Now, look into your values, duties and dreams. There is a way in which one enhances the other. Don't stop till you find that path and then follow it.