Changing Need to Choice

Last night was one of those nights with strange dreams and intermittent wakefulness.

Somewhere between the dream about a guy from high school twenty years ago who I wasn’t friends with showing up at my door, in a home where I’ve never lived, to borrow Super Nintendo games that don’t exist in my reality, and the one where I — a non-athletic gal — am trying to train for a marathon with an acquaintance known to be an amazing runner, my ongoing to-do list cycled on through.

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

I need to clean the kitchen and do laundry.

I need to work on that client’s resume.

I need to finalize some important paperwork.

And it came to me how much pressure it is to constantly use that word with myself. Need. It manifests an undercurrent of urgency, which in turn manifests stress. And then if I don’t accomplish that thing I’d “needed” to do: failure.

But how might it change my self-assessment and expectation if instead I speak to myself as though I choose what to do with my day?

Do you ever think we all must be geniuses in the middle of the night, around two or three a.m., when we’re free from constrictions and filters, and our heart and brain can communicate directly with one another? I think it’s when our creativity is at its rawest, too.

What if, when a friend asks, “What do you have going on today?” or if I’m working through that pending to-do list, I switched my approach to something less pressure-filled, more easygoing, with a gentler expectation. What if I’m actively, consciously choosing what to do, instead of dictating to myself something that must be done? Sure, we’re only talking semantics, a mental change, but could it make a difference in how the day goes? In how the day feels?

Today I choose to put the clean clothes away.

Today I choose to pick up outside in preparation for spring.

Today I choose to get the oil changed in my car.

I’m going to try it. My internal language is going to be a little bit different, so as to test this theory that I could put less pressure on myself while still getting stuff done.

Can I gain a greater sense of control over how my day is spent?

What do you think?

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2 thoughts on “Changing Need to Choice

  1. I had a therapist who told me to get rid of the should, must, and need from my vocabulary, because they are essentially untrue. You do not need to clean the bathroom; you prefer a clean bathroom so you choose to clean the bathroom. You shouldn’t rake leaves; You rake to have the nice tidy lawn you want. Even “I need to eat” was supposed to go. Instead: I’m hungry and I don’t want to be. I’m am eating because I don’t want to feel hungry.

    I think it’s is an exercise intended to illustrate our control and that everything is a choice. Even the choices we make to stay alive or keep our family healthy and safe.

    Good luck with the shifting of your vocabulary. It takes time and effort but in the end the lesson is worth it.

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