Tina shares: have to’s – steal freedom
Hey, . I haven’t written in quite a while, and therefore you may feel there’s a lot for me to catch you up on. But I’m skipping the preamble to jump into what was on my mind when I decided to write this (Monday) morning to capture the thoughts rolling around in my head on my after-breakfast walk (on this first day I’ll be back in the city for a whole 5 days after enjoying in the relaxing nature environment at our RV trailer, away from the heat and intense energy of the city for most of the summer!).
Is this just me, (name), or can you relate to this, too? This morning I realized that my personal sense of freedom comes from feeling like I have a choice in my life… and I’ve stolen my own freedom by taking away my right to choose!
You see, it occurred to me how much I still live my life by ‘have-to’s’.
I have a very bad habit of thinking about what else I have to do, even when I’m engaged in doing something!
Side note: Reasons I call this a ‘bad habit’:
- Thinking about that while I’m doing this reduces my effectiveness doing this.
- Thinking about that while I’m doing this steals away my presence to the moment. Being present to the moment is where the joy happens in my life and I want to feel more joy!
My solution? My good friend Jennifer Mortimer suggested to me that making a list of every ‘have to do’ thing may take some pressure off. No need to keep it top of mind.
(As she told me this, I thought about sitting down and typing up a list, but just now I thought if I have a little ‘to do’ book that I carry around, I can jot down each thought and then let it go and get back to being present to what I am doing since the thing will be on the list for later.)
It also occurred to me that most of my ‘have to’ thinking is based on others’ ideas about what I have to do. It doesn’t stem from my own heart’s choice. It stems from thoughts I’m carrying around in my brain. If I catch myself feeling, “oh, I’d like to ——- right now” but immediately my thinking says, “You can’t do that now, first you have to ____”, that ‘first’ is usually taking care of something that I know someone else wants me to do.
Sadly, I’ve found that I’ve often done what someone else wants me to do (and sometimes it even extends into my perception of what someone else wants me to do!) then I hold resentment about doing it. Or I’ll feel totally unmotivated to do that thing. Often, I simply think about the things I have to do and get totally overwhelmed and become paralyzed and unable to do ANYthing! This has been a miserable way to live for the last half a year that I’ve been ‘missing’ in action!
Automatically saying “I have to” subconsciously feels like I have no choice. When I don’t have a choice, then I lose my freedom. I feel trapped, become paralyzed (stuck in indecision about what to do) and I’m unable to take action.
My Solution: In the moment, consciously consider the ‘have to’ at hand: Do I really have to do this now, right this moment? What makes it important to do now? If the reason isn’t compelling enough, I can add it to the list for later.
Here is where the deeper value of the list comes into play. If all I do is write down all the things I have to do on the list (which is what I have done in the past) it just becomes an overwhelming list of things to do.
However, if I look at the reason for doing everything, I think I have to do, I can gain greater clarity about the items on the list. (For example, is this something I want to do? How will it benefit me to do this? Eg. improve my relationship with ___.)
As I get clearer, I’ll have more choice and therefore feel freer!
Next week I’m going to go share more deeply about how motivation gives me/You more choice … so stay tuned!
In the meantime, I’m ready to embrace more freedom! I’m off to get a ‘to do’ book now and start writing down the reasons.
How about you, name?
Will you join me in this exploration of feeling freer? Grab yourself a book and join me next week…
choice journalling life choices Tina Thrussell to do to do list