Do I Have To?
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 had no other choice…”
Then I’d love to do a search for these phrases:
“…I want to…”
“…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.