Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Get To vs Have To

I recently read this article below about the idea of "get to" vs "have to."  With all that I've experienced in the past three years or so, this article just reminded me of the power of ones attitude.

When I'm tired and I "have to" wake up and go to work or I "have to" grade a massive stack of essays, I need to try and remind myself that I "get to" go to work today.  There are so many people who are out of the job and wish that they could get up and go to work.

When I'm complaining that I "have to" go to pilates or walk the dog, I need to remind myself that I "get to" work out, I am able bodied enough and healthy enough to work out while there are so many other people who wish they were healthy enough (like my mom) to exercise.

When I'm tired at night and I "have to" talk to Wyoming on the phone because I have so many other things to do and I'm tired of listening and talking to 175 8th graders, I remind myself that I "get to" talk to him, I don't "have to" to talk to him.

I don't get to talk to Jeff anymore. 

The Power of ‘I get to’ versus ‘I have to’

when i awoke this morning at 5:12am for no good reason, i started going through the list of things that i have to do today. i started telling my husband (when he awoke 1.5 hours later) that “i have to write a blog post since i didn’t last night, i have to go for a run, i have to meditate and i have to prepare for a presentation on partnerships and…”
then my trusty anxiety started creeping in and grabbed me by the throat. i fell back on the bed (not dramatically like a pass-out-scene but like a ‘ack! it’s too much. i’m falling over’) and told my husband i felt overwhelmed.
his response, “you don’t have to do anything.”
immediately my response was “oh yes i do because….!” and launched into how the world could potentially end if i didn’t do all of my list today.
his response, “you don’t have to do anything.”
deep breath. he was right and damn he has a good memory. i told him something very similar recently when he was expressing all of the crazy travel he has coming up. i said “you don’t have to do any of that…you get to!” sometimes it is less fun to get your words thrown back at you but ultimately so necessary. the power of ‘i get to’ versus ‘i have to’ is an interesting concept.
he asked me to rephrase everything that i have going on today and now it sounds like this:
have get to write a blog post, i am able to go for a run, i want to meditate and i get to prepare for a presentation to help people have better partnerships.”
that slight change in phrasing decreased my anxiety by like 47%, which is a pretty big deal. it helped to give me back control of my language, my choices and my life. i don’t have to do anything, none of us do.

he also reminded me that i’m working hard to stay present and to not numb out to my anxiety, no matter how terrible it may feel. remember in brenĂ© brown’s book “the gifts of imperfection,” she says you cannot just choose to numb out grief, anxiety, vulnerability, shame, etc. but then say “i just want to feel joy, gratitude, and happiness.” that is not how it works. if we decide to attempt to numb the negative emotions, we numb everything out including the ones that bring us great joy.
if you are feeling overwhelmed, change the way you think about the things that are going on in your life. by simply replacing the words “have to” or “should” with “get to” or “able to” it will help to restore a sense of control. the power of ‘i get to’ versus ‘i have to’ is stronger than you might imagine.

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