When you take control of your responses and emotions you gain a hard-won peace. There are a plethora of ways to work towards that outcome, and today I want to cover one that has helped me recognize how, when, and where I need to focus my attention.
Reaction and action
Most actions start from the physical reactions we feel when confronted with situations, tasks, and challenging new experiences. A way I have combated that nauseating feeling of reluctant action is turning my “have to’s” to “get to’s.”
I don’t have to film that video: I GET to.
I don’t have to write that post: I GET to.
I don’t have to make that phone call: I GET to.
You get the picture.
By reframing my responsibilities as privileges instead of chores, I’ve created a pattern for myself. Whenever that needling anxiety picks up in the back of my mind, that uneasy feeling in my gut, the pang of dread in my heart, I examine those feelings. I determine where they come from by tracing the thought that triggered it. I follow the pattern to the root and back again.
After that, I can recognize why those feelings are there and if they are useful. Most often, they are irrelevant to my present situation.
And then, I can remind myself that I don’t have to feel that way. It’s almost ridiculous how quickly my feelings change towards tasks as soon as I tell myself, “you don’t have to do X; you get to do X. Isn’t that so cool?”
It becomes an excitement, a process of discovery. Each looming appointment or meeting becomes an honor and something to be joyful towards instead of apprehensive about.
If you catch yourself with a pit in your stomach every time you think of what you need to be doing and are putting off, consider why that may be. Reframe it as a gift.
Once you turn “I have to” into “I get to” that feeling of reluctance will cease to hinder you.
Along with this process comes the reaffirming recognition that each time you accomplish a task/project/meeting, you do exactly that. The act of completion is an important aspect of following through with your responsibilities.
Afterwhich, you no longer have it looming in the distance, and you’re free to focus on what’s next.
Are these methods foolproof? No. But they have earned me a thoughtful relationship with my emotions and responses.
What’s something you’ve been putting off or dreading? It could be a responsibility that just came up or something you’ve put off for weeks.
Try taking a good long look at it without flinching, and determine why it is you feel the way you do. It may not be as big as you think, and who knows? It may even turn out to be simple.