Complaining is a way of judging. It can become a habit, a habit that does not serve us, that does not lead to our happy place.
One way of complaining is “I have to” statements. I have to go to work. I have to cook dinner for the kids. I have to pay bills. How many times a day do I start a sentence with “I have to”? Lots more than I realize, I bet.
Think of something you “have to” do. How does that make you feel? When I say “I have to” I feel resistance, like I really don’t want to do it. I might feel resentful or grumpy or powerless or overwhelmed. I’m not likely to do whatever it is with a good attitude. I’m not likely to feel happy about it.
But what happens if we change one word? What happens if we change “I have to” to “I get to”? How do you feel now?
Instead of I have to go to work, I get to go to work. I have a job when so many people are out of work. I get to be around other people whose company I enjoy. I am paid well for work that I can do well.
Instead of I have to cook dinner for the kids, I get to cook dinner for the kids. I have kids whom I adore, and who appreciate a good meal. I have access to healthy food grown by people who work hard to provide me and my family with an amazing variety of delicious things to eat. I have a kitchen full of tools and appliances to help me prepare the food quickly and easily.
Instead of I have to pay the bills, I get to pay the bills. I have electricity and water that come right to my home. I can watch my favorite team on cable TV from the comfort of my couch. I can pay for services provided by skilled people who can fix things, paint things, or save me time.
All of a sudden, instead of feeling burdened by all the things I have to do, I feel blessed beyond belief by all the things I get to do. How did I get to be so lucky?
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I Have To vs I Get To
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