How to release the “I have to” mentality

It’s very normal for most people to motivate themselves with statements like, “I have to do this”, or, “I need to do that”. We might say to ourselves, for example:

  • I have to work out today
  • I need to take the dog for a walk
  • I have to take the kids to school
  • I have to eat healthy
  • I have to go to work

What is the influence of all these “have to’s” and “need to’s” bouncing around in our heads? Have you ever stopped to think about how it feels to operate under the weight of all of these self imposed requirements? Have you ever felt sick and tired of all of these things that you feel you have to do? 

If so, then we have good news for you. There’s nothing you have to do. Not a thing. 

From a very young age we are conditioned into this mentality by family, school, society, and at work. It becomes our go-to self motivational process. We subconsciously buy into and get entrained into the idea that if we don’t work out today, go to work, become a doctor, or go to that dreaded social event that something really bad is going to happen. In fact, as soon as we start saying to ourselves that we have to do things our subconscious mind starts sending signals and excreting chemicals linked to our fight or flight systems. It automatically produces stress and anxiety in our systems as a safety mechanism. For those of you familiar, this is a root chakra driven process. That’s the chakra in our spiritual body that controls our survival and control strategies. In today’s busy world, we’ve become subconsciously addicted to motivating ourselves with stress. It’s no surprise that they’re saying the 21st century is plagued by a stress epidemic.  This tendency to motivate ourselves with “have to’s” and “need to’s” is 

  • subconscious: meaning it’s such a deep habit that we often don’t even realize we’re doing it or the implications of it (list below)
  • Unhealthy: triggering own own fight or flight survival system in order to take the kids to school, workout, or eat something creates significant emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual imbalance that can lead to dis-ease. 
  • Unpleasant: how can we enjoy doing something if we feel it’s a life or death requirement? 

Using “have to’s” and “need to’s” is sort of like a bandaid approach or a quick fix. Because it triggers the very strong life and death motivators in our systems, it can allow us to muster up a lot of energy to commit to a task. When we say “I have to” we’re literally saying, “if I don’t do this I will die”. Consciously, you might feel like you’re not saying that. That said, subconsciously, that is the meaning that ripples through your entire subconscious mind. When this message ripples through your subconscious mind, it releases chemicals that creates the stressful and negative emotions you feel. You see, the language you use is a reflection of the way you feel inside, and also affects the way you feel inside afterwards. When we use language such as, “I have to”, it reflects that we feel obligated and like we have no other option. This then sends that message through our system. Because our subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between reality and what we imagine, it reacts as if you truly “have to” take the trash out or else you will die. As a result, you take the trash out feeling stressed, burdened, and in a hurry not realizing you just triggered your system into a mini life or death scenario. We hope this is offering you some aha moments that is giving you hope that: yes, you can reduce the amount of stress you feel and become more conscious over your own mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual bodies. 

We don’t need to trigger ourselves into life or death scenarios using “have to’s” and “need to’s” every time we want to motivate ourselves. We can learn to use a cleaner fuel for self motivation. For example, we can switch our language from “have to” to “want to”. When we start to live our lives from the “want to” mentality, we begin to recognize the benefit of the small tasks and the big tasks. We begin to mentally connect to how those tasks help us fulfill our life purpose. This allows us to feel gratitude. We simply can’t be in gratitude if we are in the process of “having to” do something. Who is going to feel grateful when they are whipping themselves on the back like that? Nobody!

Advanced: Truly, if you are an immortal soul – a being of light that never dies, and that is in one of many physical bodies to learn in the school of Earth – then there is nothing that you really “have to” do… ever. 

What you can start doing today is becoming more consciously aware of how you emotionally relate to the things you do  on a daily basis. Do this by starting to observe how you feel, emotionally, about the things you do. Observe and recognize anytime you say, “I have to”, or “I need to” either out loud or in your head. When you do find yourself using such language or feeling that way about what you’re doing, repeat the statement except replace the “have to” with “want to” and simultaneously take a moment to recognize how that task fits into supporting your greater life purpose, intentions, and goals. This way, you can walk out the door with a smile on your face and clean positive energy running through your system helping you consciously, wisely, and lovingly enjoy your task – even if it’s taking out the trash. 

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