There’s nothing you ‘have to’ do … ever!

March 21, 2013


We need to watch our language!!!

I’m not talking about cursing. I’m pretty sure God wants us to curse.

I’m talking about the language most of us use everyday that subtly makes ME a victim to MY OWN choices.

How many times a day do you say (or think) “I have to do this,” or “I need to do that”?

In fact, consider how much of your entire life might be wrapped up in a story about what you “have to do”?

But there’s nothing you have to do.

You’re so free that if someone demands you eat your peas or they’ll pull the trigger, you can dump your peas on the floor and see what really happens.

People – and my own brain – love to fight me on this one. We love to think, “Sure, I can usually choose where I spend my Friday night, IF I have enough money and a reasonable girlfriend.” But otherwise, we say, we don’t really have that many choices; life regularly backs us into corners and we’ve got to do whatever we think we’ve got to do to get through.

But that’s non-vegetarian baloney – pork lips, butts, knuckles and all. (No offense to pigs. They’re awesome and I encourage you to never eat them, even though on very rare occasion I still do.)

The reality is we’ve never done anything in our lives we didn’t on some level actually want to do. Ok, sure, there are violent examples of coercion and manipulation that push this notion beyond its realm of legitimacy, but very few of us ever encounter such an extreme. Even then, there may be a fine line.

We are so completely free we can even choose death.

In any case, I’m not talking about moments of super extreme duress. I’m talking about our everyday lives.

Ever say any of the following?

“I have to pay the bills.”
“I have to feed my children.”
“I have to go to work today.”
“I have to fix my car.”
“I have to go to my partner’s thing.”
“I have to eat.”
“I have to breathe.”

Now change “have” to “WANT”:

“I WANT to pay the bills.”
“I WANT to feed my children.”
“I WANT to go to work today.”
“I WANT to fix my car.”
“I WANT to go to my partner’s thing.”
“I WANT to eat.”
“I WANT to breathe.”

Doesn’t that feel different?

Maybe sometimes what we choose to do is uncomfortable. Maybe even excruciating. We can probably even easily imagine plenty of other things we’d RATHER be doing.

But then why aren’t we ACTUALLY doing them?

When the “want” isn’t obvious, there are usually much deeper reasons why we’re doing something we otherwise resent “having to do”. We might argue for victimhood in this moment for some trade-off in the next: “I have to do this so I can have that.” That may be true on the surface. After all, there’s a cost in time and energy to be paid for everything … even breathing costs something.

The point is not to argue the economics of trade-offs.

The point is for us to take back our lives. To remember that we are responsible for our own happiness in every moment.

I literally woke up one morning a few years ago in the midst of a challenging relationship suddenly aware that I was always doing exactly what I wanted to … and it changed my life. I could no longer blame anyone else – not my unreasonable girlfriend or the noise outside my window – for my unhappiness. If I wasn’t thrilled with a circumstance, I was at choice to change it in a million different possible ways, including simply the perspective from which I looked at it. Some choices might look scary and improbable, even downright crazy, but recognizing that I am always at choice has been incredibly empowering in my life.

You simply aren’t obligated to do or be anything at all.

You actually DO NOT have to feed your children or fix your car or pay tuition or taxes or child support or stay with your partner or go to their office party … you do not even have to breathe.

… but if you’re doing it, somewhere inside you must really want to!!

Can you imagine what this might mean for your life??

dog gate open


Nobody is a Victim Here” by Here II Here

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