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January 15, 2016

Do I Have To?

shutterstock_339262874“Necessity is an interpretation, not a fact.”

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

If we could record ourselves at all times, it would be interesting to do a search for particular terms we use the most. For instance, I’d love to see how many times already this year I’ve used the following phrases:

“…I have to…”
“…I need to…”
“…I can’t…”
“…I had no other choice…”

Then I’d love to do a search for these phrases:

“…I will…”
“…I want to…”
“…I won’t…”
“…I chose to…”

I’m guessing I’ve said more of the first group, and less of the second, but I hope not. The first group is the language of necessity, which is weak and evasive of personal responsibility. As in, “Why are you looking at me? I had no choice…” It’s easy to spot this language whenever our kids use it.

The second group, on the other hand, is the language of personal power. I want to use this language more because it speaks of authority, as in “I am one of the authors of my life story, not just a character being controlled by the circumstances.”

The truth is that our lives are largely up to us, even when it feels like we’re boxed into a corner. As we mature, we see that the corner is usually imaginary, and the things “boxing us in” are usually the choices we’ve made to put us there in the first place.

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