Shoulds and Have To’s

I’m a big believer that life is more enjoyable when we live without “shoulds” and “have tos.” But on a recent podcast interview I was asked by someone who shares that same philosophy how to handle it when you really really have to do something you’d rather not.

(She felt stuck finishing her school work for her master’s degree. In the last few weeks, she experienced enormous resistance to doing the completion work.)

Hmm – is there anything we REALLY have to do? Probably not, except “be black and die,” as Morgan Freeman’s character said in one of his movies. (Which movie was that?)

After all, there truly isn’t anything I HAVE to do. It is always a choice. And recognizing we have a choice is at least a little uplifting (to me, anyway), rather than believing we’re stuck doing something we don’t want to do.

When we adjust our thinking around the topic we’re struggling against, even though we might not be able to change what we’re dealing with in this red hot moment, just giving up that struggle allows a whole new chain of events to unfold. Right? If we stay in resistance, we just create more circumstances we don’t like.

So … there’s something I have to do that I don’t want to do? I don’t think so. I COULD choose not to do my taxes, or get the car’s oil changed, or finish my degree. It is my choice.

But when I get a higher perspective on it, and can see why it is I might want to do it after all, the resistance I was feeling for it falls away. After all, I like to feel good, and man, will I feel fabulous after taxes are filed, the car’s getting the TLC she deserves, and I’ve got that degree under my belt! (Well, the degree thing doesn’t really do much for me, but you know what I mean.)

Connecting with the “why” (or higher purpose) of the thing we’re resisting may help get us through the feelings of “shoulds” and “have tos.”

But in the meantime, I enjoy the thought of earning the title “Queen of Choice.” After all, there isn’t anything we really have to do, is there? Except maybe die eventually.

And I’m not even buying “grow old and die.” I think growing old is optional, too. I’m choosing to opt out of that one.

George Burns reminded me of that with his quote I saw at the health food store yesterday: “Young. Old. Just words.”

  • April 15, 2007
  • Rick says:

    The movie is Lean on Me I believe.

  • Good Vibe Coach says:

    And to claim your desired consequences is even better! Well said, Al.

  • al gates says:

    To be aware that you always have choices is great.
    To be aware of the consequences of your choices is even greater.

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