50 Obligation Quotes to Honor Your Commitments

Find more clarity within yourself with our obligation quotes. 

Obligations impact how we treat ourselves and the people in our lives. 

How do obligations play a role in your life?

Check out our obligation quotes below. 

You may also enjoy reading these related quotes:

What are obligations?

Obligations take many forms. 

An obligation is a responsibility or course of action that is required of us. 

Some obligations are legal, some are moral, and others are cultural. 

Check out these different types of obligations below:

  • Social obligations. 
  • Written obligations. 
  • Political obligations. 

Obligations vary from person to person and culture to culture. 

For example, people in leadership positions have more obligations than the average person.

A parent or caretaker has more obligations than a child in a household. 

In many cases, an increase or responsibility or power means an increase in obligations. 

Obligations determine the choices some people make. 

Because of this, some argue that while obligations may come with increased responsibility or power, they also create limitations.  

What is a historical obligation?

A historical obligation is a moral responsibility belonging to a citizen of a state, members of a family, or some intergenerational group.

These responsibilities influence a person’s commitments and are often connected to obligations incurred by their ancestors. 

For example, groups who have survived trauma or challenging situations may allow those experiences to influence their behavior or beliefs not to repeat past mistakes. 

What is the law of obligations?

The law of obligations is a branch of private law under the civil law legal system. 

It rules regulate the rights and duties of individuals in a society 

An obligation can also be a legal bond between two parties where either is bound to act or not act. 

In this way, an obligation can impose that an obliger must perform a duty to an obligee who tenders the service. 

To learn more, check out our obligations quotes below. 

Short obligation quotes about commitment

Our obligations sometimes rule us, and these quotes express why. 

1. “Relationships based on obligation lack dignity.” Wayne Dyer

2. “Obligation is thraldom, and thraldom is hateful.” Thomas Hobbes

3. “The clearest actions come from truth, not obligation.” — Gerard Way

4. “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” — Margaret Mitchell

5. “Every nation has a moral obligation to safeguard the future.”  — Al Gore

6. “The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

7. “Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.” — Richard Bach

8. “Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.” — Edward R. Murrow

9. “Better poverty without a care than wealth with its many obligations.” ― Aesop, Aesop’s Fables

10. “I’ve always sensed for myself an obligation to bear witness to my time.” — Athol Fugard

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The top obligation quotes about life

Obligations can bring us joy or make us feel limited. 

These quotes explore the diversity of obligations. 

11. “I think migration is a right, but it should be an option, not an obligation.” — Nayib Bukele

12. “Real Madrid are obliged to win always; this jersey makes it an obligation.” — Casemiro

13. “If there’s even one thing we can do, even one life we can save; we have an obligation to try.” Barack Obama

14. “If an individual is born with the obligation to obey, who is born with the right to command?” — Tom G. Palmer

15. “Every Christian leader is obliged to teach their members how to work and bring about productivity.” ― Sunday Adelaja

16. “Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life.”Elie Wiesel

17. “In many ways, when you’re a Nobel peace laureate, you have an obligation to humankind, to society.” Desmond Tutu

18. “The gift of life is so precious that we should feel an obligation to pay back the universe for the gift of being alive.”Ray Bradbury

19. “Being a lawyer is not merely a vocation. It is a public trust, and each of us has an obligation to give back to our communities.” — Janet Reno

20. “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” — Marian Wright Edelman

The best obligation quotes about responsibility 

These quotes remind us that responsibility is at the root of obligation. 

21. “Government’s first duty and highest obligation is public safety.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

22. “Life is about juggling obligations, Valerie. You need to study smarter, not harder.” ― Caroline Hanson, Love is Darkness

23. “The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.” — Henry David Thoreau

24. “Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty.” John D. Rockefeller

25. “Dharma – the foundation of all human goals be, Refers to obligations, conduct, moral duties.” ― Munindra Misra, Goals of Life

26. “A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.” — Alexis de Tocqueville

27. “He needed to get away from the rush of the city, from the unceasing noise and annoying obligations.” ― Francine Rivers, A Voice in the Wind

28. “If you could strip away all your distraction and obligations, who would you be left with?” — Adam J. Kurtz, You Are Here (For Now): A Guide to Finding Your Way

29. “It’s a hard thing, balancing your obligation to the family who supported you, who loves you, and the desires of your heart.” ― Melanie A. Smith, The Safeguarded Heart Complete Series

30. “America’s commitment to collective defense under Article 5 of NATO is a sacred obligation in our view – a sacred obligation not just for now, but for all time.” Joe Biden

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Obligation quotes and sayings about passion 

Our obligations can shape what leads our passions. 

31. “If you feel that strongly about something, you have an obligation to try and change my mind.” — Aaron Sorkin

32. “What kills us isn’t one big thing, but thousands of tiny obligations we can’t turn down for fear of disappointing others.” — Alain de Botton

33. “Love imposes obligations, and these are constant. An intermittent lover is no use to a person of dignity and courage.” ― Anita Brookner, The Debut

34. “We can fill our lives with ‘stuff,’ but as we do, we’re concurrently filling our lives with the obligation to maintain that ‘stuff.” — Craig D. Lounsbrough

35. “Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process.” Hillary Clinton

36. “Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” — James Cromwell

37. “It was a fact, and you lived with the consequences, a kind of contract under which your actions led to inevitable obligations.” — Nicholas Evans, The Smoke Jumper

38. “It sounded somewhat doom-laden, so I felt obliged to look it up more thoroughly, in case I should eat some chocolate rather quickly.” — Carol Anne Dobson

39. “And don’t you say that it is very kind and obliging of him, sir, like Jessamy, because if you don’t like a person, you don’t wish to be obliged to him!” ― Georgette Heyer, Frederica

40. “I feel that it is our moral obligation to stand and to be courageous with these families, and particularly Cindy, that have become the conscience of this nation.” — Al Sharpton

Famous obligation quotes to make you think

This selection of obligation quotes comes from a variety of thinkers. 

41. “To owe an obligation to a worthy friend is a happiness, and can be no disparagement.” — Pierre Charron

42. “A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it.” — Alexis de Tocqueville

43. “Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.” — James Cromwell

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44. “I have to let her remain here if she wants to… We have these obligations to our human ruins.” ― Charles Baxter, There’s Something I Want You to Do

45. “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” — Marian Wright Edelman

More quotes about obligation

Here are a few additional quotes about being obligated.

46. “A judge can’t have any preferred outcome in any particular case. The judge’s only obligation – and it’s a solemn obligation – is to the rule of law.” — Samuel Alito

47. “As my dad said, you have an obligation to leave the world better than how you found it. And he also reminded us to be givers in this life, and not takers.” Phil Crane

48. “We have an obligation to feel guilty.” The words came out of her lips as if she were reciting an elegy. “Guilty. Because we kill the ones we love.” ― Cristiane Serruya, Trust: A New Beginning

49. “As a very young person, I was ready and willing to explore and try new things, unhampered by the daily routines that adults so often feel obligated to adhere to.” ― K. Martin Beckner, Chips of Red Paint

50. “The law dictated by God Himself is, of course, superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity if contrary to this.”Alexander Hamilton

Have obligations always been around?

In terms of etymology, the word obligation comes from the Latin word ‘obligare,’ with the root lig, which means to be bound to something. 

Many ancient cultures had obligations that influenced their societal laws and norms.

When we think of the history of obligations, we have to start at the dawn of humanity.

Even our most ancient ancestors were liable to themselves and their families. 

Even the most carefree person in the world still must abide by the laws of nature. 

As humans, we are obliged to find clean air, water, and food to survive. 

It is interesting to think about how our obligations change over time in the course of our lives. 

As children, we have fewer obligations. 

As we mature, our obligations increase. 

Part of adulthood is learning to enjoy and complete our obligations in ways that facilitate happiness.

What do you think are the most important obligations to keep?

Be sure to let us know in the comments section below. 

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