Friday, August 20, 2010

The Power of Words - "Have to" vs. "Choose to"

I’m on maternity leave at the moment and am taking care of my two-year-old and two-month-old daughters. While doing so, I’ve realised just how often I say to my two-year-old, “Just one second. I have to...” Every time I say it, I can see the disappointment in her eyes. I started thinking about the power of the words we use, how they can change the way we view our realities, and how they impact the people we speak to.

Do you “have to” do something or do you actually “choose to” do something? Everything is a choice, isn’t it? I started a little experiment with myself by substituting “have to” with “choose to.” Suddenly, I didn’t have so many things I had to do anymore.

It was easy to look my 2-year-old in the eyes and say “I have to...” but I couldn’t even stomach saying “I choose to...” meaning I was choosing to do something over spending time with her. Of course, to a two-year-old child, the vocabulary doesn't make a difference. The actions speak for themselves.

Guess how quickly my priorities changed when I made this shift in my thinking! I haven’t written more than 3 emails in 5 days. And the girls are napping as I sit and write this.

So I’ve learned a few things this week, especially how easily I have become a slave to my language! Are you in the same situation without knowing it?

Do you often think, "Ugh... I wish I didn't have to reply to these mails right now." Do you really have to reply right now? Are you sure? Or are you replying to all your mail because you choose to do that instead of what really needs to be done?

It's easy to trick ourselves with our language. When we "have to" do something we give that task a lot of weight and importance, when in reality many of the things we "have to" do can wait.

Do you have any words that are holding you back, twisting your reality, creating regret or causing you to be busier than you need to be? Let me know in the comments.

Gotta run... the 2-year-old just woke up and I choose to go spend some time with her.

1 comment:

  1. Heather, I just started to follow your blog and I appreciate what you have written. I had a Psych professor say that people need to stop "shoulding" on themselves. Thanks for the reminder that everything we do in life is a choice.

    Also, congratulations on the new addition to your family.
    Yuma, AZ