How many times a day do you say, “I have to…” followed by something that you’d really rather not do?
I have to make dinner
I have to go to work
I have to take care of this person
I have to call that person
The truth, my love, is that you don’t HAVE to do ANYTHING.
Sure, there are some things that you would never NOT do because it would go wildly against your conscience to, for example, fail to feed your kids on the daily.
But what you are really doing is making CHOICE. All day, every day.
If you chose not to go to work, maybe you would get fired.
But that doesn’t mean you HAVE to go to work. It means that the alternative doesn’t fall within your desired outcome.
If you chose to honour your feelings before your friends’, maybe they’ll be disappointed. Especially if you’ve trained yourself (and them) into a pattern of your feelings mattering the least of anyone’s.
But the truth is that you DO have a choice. And that means you can choose differently.
You can say to yourself, “I choose to go to work today, because I appreciate receiving a regular paycheque twice a month, but I also CHOOSE to look for other work that is more meaningful for me”
or, “I choose to examine this relationship further because although it feels dissatisfying to me right now, there’s enough good stuff in it for me to choose to continue for now”
It’s a lot freer than feeling like you just have to stay in this job or this relationship.
Truthfully, I think “have to” is kind of a cop-out sometimes. If we convince ourselves that we have no choice in the matter then we never have to make the difficult choice to change. We can just front like this thing is an immovable part of us and we’re under no obligation to examine it further.
If you’re interested in more of my thoughts on the subject, here’s the link to a video I recorded this morning: