The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up was the catalyst for my Gratitude Journey, and it sparked reflection from a different perspective. If you haven't read our introduction and inspiration for this journey, you can read it here. After sitting down and doing the visualization exercise, my intention for this process was to LIVE GRATITUDE. Today, I’m sharing my journey in finding choice. Truly, this was an exercise in where I put my attention. I noticed how I was creating my self-image, from the outside in, and focusing on how I was not achieving what I wanted. From there I realized that the phrases, “I need to” or “I have to” puts my attention on the negative pressures I have in my life. “I get to” focuses on choice. I am choosing how to use my valuable time.
Notice Inner Conflict
The first step in my Gratitude Journey was to sort through my closet and keep the clothes I loved and that brought me joy. They were also the clothes that made me feel the most comfortable in my own skin. My drawers were stuffed. I had my seasonal clothing in bins, and I could barely pull clothes off the hangers. Needless to say, I had options when it came to how I styled myself everyday. Yet, I probably wore the same handful of shirts and bottoms week after week. I took all of the clothing items I owned, put them in a massive pile in my bedroom floor and held every piece of clothing into my hands to see if it sparked joy. As I discarded various clothes, I thought, “I remember when I bought that. I wanted it to be a goal when I got fit enough to wear it.” or “I’ll buy this because it’ll push me out of my comfort zone.” and on it went. It felt more like I was trying to change myself from the outside in. Then a question popped in my head. Where else do I do this in my life?
Oh my, everywhere! I am constantly making decisions based on what I think I am supposed to. Doing things because it’s what I think is expected of me. I thought of everything that I do in a day: work, errands, chores, fun events, etc. and a big motivator until that point was what I thought I needed to do to fit in.
Get to vs. Need to
As I discarded more pieces, I began to notice how I phrase things. “I need to go to the store.” “I get to go hiking.” “I need to purge my closet.” but “I get to go shopping.” When I phrased sentences with need or have to, they were obligatory. It felt as though I wasn’t making the choice. When I get to do something, there is excitement, and I am looking forward to it. So I decided to experiment with how I spoke. I switched my language on something mundane and routine in my life: I changed “I need to do laundry” to “I get to do laundry.” It felt awkward at first because I wasn’t looking forward to laundry. It needed to be done. As I said “I get to do laundry” more, I found that something shifted in my mind. When I thought “I need to do laundry”, I was picturing how much time it would take up. As I continued to say “I get to do laundry” there was a slight excitement that stirred in my belly. I started to picture how laundry straight from the dryer is so warm and comforting. I was getting excited about the smell of fresh laundry.
Of course, it takes practice. It takes practice to recognize when I am saying “I need to” so I could switch it. After switching a few “need to’s” to “get to’s”, I felt a sense of relief that there is less mental pressure now.Let’s do it together!