Growing up I said the phrase, “Do I have to?”, quite a bit (sorry Mom!). It was normally reserved for when I had to take out the garbage, sweep the floors or apologize to my sister.
I’d like to think that the moaning mindset of have to naturally went away and I grew into a perfect adult who knew better. Spoiler alert: I did not.
I’ve had to actively shift my mindset to a more productive and beneficial thought process that is actually quite simple. Instead of saying, “have to”, I now say “get to”. Now, that may not seem like a big, life-changing statement but hear me out. In college, I first heard this “get to” jargon and it didn’t really stand out to me at first. I was caught up in the frenzy and excitement of living in a new country and making new friends that everything was perceived as an amazing opportunity or privilege. It wasn’t until the shiny newness of it all wore off that I felt challenged in my heart by what that statement really meant – It’s a shift from obligation to choice. It’s empowering.
I don’t have to be a kind person but I choose to be one. I don’t have to show up to meetings or to a coffee date with a friend but I choose to be a reliable person. I don’t have to work hard but I want to feel accomplished in my career and life, so I do. I don’t have to exercise but I want to be strong and independent until the day I’m no longer on this earth. I don’t have to eat well but I choose to honour my body and fuel it with what it needs and not over stuff it which can be the easier or tempting option.
Life is a beautiful opportunity and privilege. I choose to embrace it and enjoy it, not feel obligated or dragged down by it. Now, obviously, there are things that we truly have to do as adults that are unavoidable like paying rent/mortgage, taxes ect. Even in those situations, I would challenge you to shift that mindset from, “I have to pay rent/taxes”, to “I have a place to live! Wow! I am so grateful and I have a job that helps me pay for it!”.
It also looks like practicing gratitude and counting all the good in your life instead of the negative. Instead of focusing on what isn’t going well, it’s looking for opportunities to change the situation and make it into something you can smile at.
It does take time but I promise that it is well worth the practice.
I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for or what area of your life you could start implementing this mind-shift down below in the comment section.