Before we explored the awesome power of changing your “have to’s” to “I choose to's…” Did you observe yourself and became aware of your internal dialogues? If you changed your phrasing with the conviction that you always have a choice, I am sure you found some liberation from your “have to’s”. If not, let me give you some examples that may jumpstart a new attitude so that you start to love what previously you experienced as a burden.
When I was a young woman, I had a very busy life. Apart from taking care of a sizable house, a bunch of dogs ( we once had a litter of 10 ), my children, my business and gardening on the weekends, we also had an “open house”; which resulted in a lot of casual and formal entertaining. The day never had enough hours to accomplish all of my chores. Back then I did not realize that all of it was because of choices I made; it was my life and I never thought about how and why I decided on all of this. Of course, many things were not my sole decision, after all I had a husband and five children. After a few years I started to feel burdened. You know that the more you have, the more you have to take care of what you have. You see how easily the “have to’s” creep in? I never forget the night when my awareness brought a major break through.
It happened late one night after I was faced with cleaning up my kitchen where dirty dishes piled up after a dinner party. You may think that I could have stacked my dishwasher with it all and considered it done? But I pulled out our best crystal, silverware and hand painted fine China, which surely would have been damaged in the dishwasher. I had to hand-wash it all. After a long enjoyable evening, everybody went to bed with a full tummy and, I am sure, a happy smile on their faces…except of me. Poor me was standing in the kitchen with a feeling of overwhelmness and resentment. “It always happens like this, I always end up having to do EVERYTHING”.
You see how many “have to’s” swirled in my head? And this was just the beginning of an internal dialogue that brought back all the “have to’s” from the past, while my resentment and anger grew larger than my head could contain, resulting in a splitting headache. I started to feel so sorry for myself that tears ran down my cheeks.
Then something strange happened…. Something or someone appeared in my vision and stopped my pitiful internal dialogue. Through my tears I started to laugh, realizing that only I had the power to stop my misery.
Taking a deep breath, I began a different kind of self-talk, and it went like this: Fact is that the dishes are dirty in front of me, and there is nobody but me to clean them. How can I make this more enjoyable?
I remembered when I was a child, playing in soapy waters, looking with joy and fascination into the shiny, colourful bubbles where little rainbows swirled within the delicate spheres until they burst with a silent spray. As I looked down into the soapy water I started to feel the water’s softness and how it brought out the shine on my crystal stemware and dishes. Everything changed in the ‘blink of an eye’, and my chore became a fascinating activity that I thoroughly enjoyed. The time stood still, at least I did not notice how late it was until I finished placing everything back where it belonged and I had nothing else to do but prepare for bed.
My heart was calm. I felt wise and powerful by what I had just experienced. I too fell asleep with a smile on my face, although a few hours later than my husband, children and guests. I had found a precious secret: to change my “have to’s” into “I choose”. I was eager to apply my ‘secret’ the next day to other challenges that came my way.
I can tell you that after my awareness that night, I have brought about many changes in my feelings and attitude towards people and situations in my life; and so can you. Our entire life consists of series of choices. Everything is as easy or hard as you make it. Let me give you another example that may help you in your relationships.
Have you complained (openly, or in your head) about something your spouse or partner, or child has not done? It is mostly something that has annoyed you for some time, and every time it comes up, there you are with your resentment, frustration, or even anger.
Do you want to change it? If you do, you have to stop trying to change the other person…it’s not going to happen! I am absolutely certain of this. You can bring about the change you desire in this way: Ask yourself if you would like to be around someone who is resentful and nagging? No, of course not. But isn’t it you that fills the space with exactly that energy? It does not matter whether you are right or wrong. You can be right, but miserable.
Why not try this: Visualize yourself having fun by choosing exactly what is going on at that moment. From there it is so much easier to re-direct where you like to have things go. For example: You want your husband to do the dishes, or take out the garbage, but it is not happening and you feel you have to do it. Rather than getting all upset, bring him into the kitchen by seduction or any other playful game.
When you can laugh and have fun together, the routine stuff becomes a no-chore. Be playful…it is contagious and irresistible. It will not only bring new energy for you but also in your relationships. When we were children we always stayed focused in the moment and enjoyed what we did; everything was fun. Have you forgotten? Bring it back into your adult life and see how your “have to’s” turn into “choices” that you will love.
Have a very beautiful and happy Valentine’s Day.
About the author: Dr. Angelika Christie is the Managing Director of Radiant Health Center You can contact her at 352-1010 or email