Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February 2009 - WANT: Want versus should

Arlene and I have a new trigger, which we didn't have before. It keys in on the word "should". In an attempt to discover why we liked doing some things and hated doing others, but still continued to do the things we hated, we found that those things that were not fun always contained the word should. For example:

I should go for a walk.
I should finish the sewing project.
I should create something artsy.

Now, there are some other shoulds that aren't as attractive as those above. Such as:

I should go brush my teeth.
I should clean the bathroom.
I should empty the litter box.

But walking, creativity and hobbies typically don't fall into the crappy end of the scale. So we asked why were these normally fun things turning into chores?
What resulted from our investigation was a simple word change and listening to exactly what we were saying.

The change was to listen for the key words "should" and "want to". To our surprise, we found that wherever we said:
I want to go for a walk.
versus -
I should go for a walk.

The activity was far more acceptable or dare I say even fun!

This seems like such a little thing, but this is where the subtlety appears. In our minds we found that using the word should meant that this particular activity wasn't really what we wanted to do, but rather what we had learned through experience (and the generous application of guilt) that we HAD to do. That small nuance was enough to create a chore out of what would normally be fun.

Perhaps it is getting older or the decades of learning how to function within a dysfunctional environment, but whatever the reason we found a way around this little pothole.

Of course, there are still those special times when the litter box DOES need to be emptied, but now the phrase is -

I WANT TO empty the litter box.

And surprisingly, it isn't half bad.

Since we first started noticing these keywords, our lives have become much happier. Whenever one of us notices phrases like "I should go exercise", it is now clear that it is not the right time to exercise. Our brain is telling us that with its own wonderful phraseology. Usually what happens next is a pause that internalizes the question: SO, what do I really WANT to do? Within moments, clarity is reached and off we go to the exact activity that was truly in there as a "want" versus a "should". Granted we are not perfect and there are some times when the situation does not allow for the want to overrule the should, but these times are now rare instead of the norm.

Bottom line, this is our simple way of determining what we want to do.

You should enjoy life!

You want to enjoy life, right?

Written for NaBloPoMo, the theme for February is "WANT"

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