I Have To vs. I Get To
Twice in the last week, I have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Not literally (that would be weird), but figuratively. Big feelings of overwhelm and stress, of apprehension and dread for the day to come. Not an awesome way to attack the day, right? It felt heavy, it was weighing on me and I could hear the things I was saying were more negative than usual. I actually said to my husband, as we were discussing all the obligations last Saturday, “I HATE today.” I said this BEFORE the day had even really started. It was at that point that I knew I needed to turn things around. I don’t want to be that person. I have two ways of doing this, and had to employ both tactics. The negativity was strong and I needed the big guns.
This is Good Because
“This is good because” is something I pull out when an upcoming activity isn’t immediately enticing. Or if something rough has happened and I need to re-evaluate and reframe. I actually say out loud “This is good because” and then go through all the possibilities for why the activity or situation might have a positive angle. Sometimes the answer is obvious, and sometimes I need to dig deep and the “good” thing is tiny. But I will always find something good. It may not completely turn things around, but it helps to reframe it and lift me out of the fully negative mindset that I am stuck in in that moment.
I Get To
The other tactic I use is to say “I get to” instead of “I have to.” I get to have 50 minutes to myself on the side of the pool, instead of I have to sit there while my kid is in lessons. I get to connect with people and learn something, instead of I have to go to this workshop. One simple change of a word can help to reframe it and remind you that there is potential benefit in every situation. What might feel like an inconvenient favour at first might actually bring another person joy, and as a result, bring you joy in the process. I get to help someone who needs me.
There’s a quote and I can’t find the original writer, but the quote says “Life is happening for you, not to you.” Using these reframing techniques can help you to look at challenging situations in your life as gifts. As opportunities for growth, or to slow down, or to connect with someone new. It’s just a matter of finding that upside. Even if it’s not certain, the potential for a positive outcome is there and that will help you approach things from a better place.
What do you GET to do today?
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In a world with so many things to do, kids to manage and pandemics to worry about—just kidding, thank god there’s only one of those right now—let’s find one thing to count on that will help you focus on yourself when things are tough.