There are perhaps a number of times in our lives we feel that we are not in control. Our position is that someone or something else is making us do something, or that we are obligated to take some action. This behavior starts as a little child so it is no wonder that we might have an internal program in our subconscious that has carried on from an early age until…well, perhaps until you’re reading this blog. Is it time to open our eyes? That will be your choice.
Make a list of all the things you “have to” do. Just grab a spare sheet of paper right now and take a few moments (5-10 minutes perhaps) to fill it up with as many things you “have to” do as you can come up with. To generate a more inclusive response, suggest to yourself that this is a contest and the one with the most items on the paper will be a “lucky winner.” Once you finish this exercise, then continue reading this blog.
As you look over your list of numerous “have to’s”, and then read them again, and even as you wrote them down if you can remember, how do they make you feel? Journal a bit on your emotional state as you slowly read through them. Most typically people will journal with emotions such as: not in control, upset, angry, powerless, sad, worthless, shameful, disappointed, depressed, out of control, etc. Perhaps your emotional responses were not as strong as these words, but generally no matter what you journaled, you clearly will have a difficult time journaling emotional words that inspire or empower you.
The concept of “have to” is a statement that you are not in control…it reveals that somehow someone or something else is in charge of your time, energy, decision-making. When we are subjected to the wishes and whims of others without our input being heard, we truly become or perceive ourselves as “victim” to another’s control. In some instances, like someone draws a gun on us and our lives are threatened, it is quite an understandable reason why we would feel victimized because we truly are. These are not the kind of situations we are discussing here, where true danger exists.
You see, we tend to use the words “have to” freely, without thought or concern over the consequences as many truly walk this earth without ever realizing the importance of our language. Our words are incredibly powerful, especially those we tell ourselves as they influence our mindset. When we speak in terms of “have to,” we actually are choosing to go VICTIM to another person, thing or action. Do we have a real choice? Absolutely.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Choose to empower yourself instead of give your power away. Step 1: choose to step into “responsible” from the perspective of “able to respond” instead of choosing “victim.” Am I suggesting you can actually choose your status? Yes, like a lot of things in our lives that we never considered true. We can choose differently…and the main reason to do so is that it is empowering instead of disempowering. Thus, even in instances that seem awkward at least at first, for instance “I have to pick my daughter up from school, I have to go grocery shopping, I have to get laundry done”…you may say to yourself that you use these phrases a lot. STOP IT. The language will put you on a slippery slope of feeling “out of control.” You will start regretting the activity of picking your child up at school (so what mood does that put you in as she climbs into the car?), etc. Now say to yourself, “I choose to pick up my daughter from school.” I choose to go grocery shopping. I choose to get the laundry done.” Notice the difference? Wow, yes, it is just a choice. Everything is a choice…though some may seem awkward until you really reason them through.
Track yourself for a week or two, switching out all those “have to’s” with “choose to’s” and just watch the attitude adjustment taking place. Hm. Maybe life can start looking better and better everyday, with more joy than you have experienced in a long time. Intriguing how we have much more control over our state of being than perhaps we care to admit. Go “choose” to have a great day…and many of those add up to a great life!