Have you ever thought about the fact that you don’t actually need to do anything? Everything you tell yourself you “need” to do or that someone or something says you “have to” do, you actually don’t.
Think about it. You don’t need to wear makeup, respond to that email, take a shower, do the dishes, go to work, follow the speed limit, be kind to anyone, take care of your children, eat, or even breathe.
BUT, you may have decided that you want to do those things because you value either the the actions themselves or the results they create.
I don’t like doing dishes. It’s my least favorite household chore. The other night I walked into my kitchen after putting my kid to bed and thought “I have to clean the kitchen” (and there may have been an internal groan in there as well). Then I thought, wait…what do I WANT?
Well, I can tell you that I don’t want to wake up to a messy kitchen. I want a clean kitchen with a clean sink and a clear counter.
And I sat with that thought. I want a clean kitchen with a clean sink and a clear counter.
I want to put everything away.
I want to do the dishes.
I want to wipe everything down.
I want to scrub out the sink.
And if I can stay in that want, holding on to that desire, the dreaded thing I thought I HAD to do becomes something I actually want to do. Cleaning the kitchen is not something to drag myself through because I want to do it.
Next time you think “I need to ______,” try reframing the thought - not just to change the way you feel about it, but also to make it more honest: “I want to ______.” And if you really don’t want to ______, then maybe you should consider letting it go completely.
What’s something you “need” to do this week? Can you recognize it as something you want to do instead?