Thursday, May 29, 2014

You don't have to do anything

You might have read the title of this post and thought I'm crazy.

"What do you mean I don't have to do anything? What about the laundry on the floor, the dishes in the sink, the project at work, the party to plan, the lesson to prepare, the tub to clean, the kids to put to bed? You mean I don't have to do any of that?"


Now before you dismiss me as a lazy lunatic, let me explain.

Our society's discourse is overrun with "have to's," "need to's," and "must's." This vocabulary has created the incorrect idea that all of the things on our to-do list, wish list or whatever you want to call it have to be completed or we're terrible.

We have to get the laundry done. We need to finish up our project at work. We must go to the grocery store.

When we have this mind set and talk to ourselves about tasks in this way, it makes anything we do seem mandatory, that we have no choice in the matter. And on top of that if we don't complete everything that we have to do, then we are failures.

I'm realizing that I'm as guilty as anyone in having this mindset. A lot of the time I feel overwhelmed by everything I have to do and then criticize myself when I don't do it all. After a recent discussion with my husband and a friend, I realize that this is not healthy perspective. More than that it is inaccurate.

I don't have to do anything. I get to choose to do anything. I am an individual with choice and control over what I do. I am not controlled by things that are on my to-do list. (Try telling yourself that each morning and see how you feel.)

Sure, it would be nice to get the laundry put away; it would be good to go to the store. But, if I don't, I'll still be here, I'll still have my wonderful husband and son, and I am still a wonderful person.

As I've tried to liberate myself the past few days from the looming, overwhelming cloud of "have to's" and "need to's", I've noticed a change in my stress and worry level. I feel a lot more control and gratitude in my life. Control because I am the one choosing what I do with my day. Gratitude because when I do get to things that would be good to do or that I hope to do, I feel grateful.

I find that this attitude is a lot better for my happiness, and I feel more liberated. I am doing a work project because I want to be creative. I take my son to the library because I chose to spend time with him. Sure some things have deadlines, and I won't do everything, but I am choosing my priorities and how I will spend my time. No one is making me do anything.

I challenge you to try redefining your mindset. (I'd love to hear how it goes). Anytime you catch yourself thinking, "Ugh, I have to clean the bathroom," or "I need to pick up the kids from soccer," replace the limiting phrase with a liberating phrase. I can...I choose...I hope...It would be good if...I'd like to...

Try it right now with the next thing you plan to do after reading this post. Isn't it liberating? :)

You are an individual who has the capability to choose and create your life's path. It might sound cheesy, but it's true. You have roles and responsibilities, but you get to choose how you will fulfill them.

You don't have to do anything, but you can choose to do whatever you want.

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