If I had dollar for every time I whined and complained about having to do something I didn’t want to do. Things like…the dentist. WORK. An oil change. Going to an event when I just want to hide in my art studio and make things…The days more often than not are full of them. The have-to’s. We can’t escape them, and most of us can’t pay someone else to do them. So what now? How do we turn our lives into less painful tasks and more joyful moments?
Reframing. Yes. It’s that simple.
If I had to eliminate one word from my vocabulary that I use regularly, it would be “should.” It’s a killer. And it turns every potential voluntary, joyful, grateful moment into pure drudgery.
Should takes a simple task, an opportunity to celebrate something for which we could be grateful, and turns it into another instance of us taking our convenient, beautiful, amazing lives for granted.
“Gahhh…I want to paint, but I should really go to the mechanics while they are open.”
“Wahhh….I want to sit and read all day, but I should really clean out the garage.”
Then we spend the whole weekend “shoulding” ourselves to death.
So, if I had to eliminate one word, it would be “should” and so I think I will! Now, thanks to a very brilliant friend of mine, who brought this up in a meeting (one that I felt I had to (or should) go to): Try, instead of should, or it’s nasty big sister “have-to,” try “get to” instead.
“Although I really would love to paint, I have a day off, and instead, I get to take my car in to the mechanics. I love my car. I am so grateful I have it, and without it, life would be pretty hard. So I am gonna show that car some love and take this ideal opportunity to give some love back so I can spend many more good years with my car, and avoid a spendy repair down the road…”
See how this works? Reframe it. When we are grateful for those things we have, we don’t leave any room for negativity. Use the opportunity for another moment of gratitude. You will feel better, you will reflect on your day as being less awful and gray.
But what if you’ve got a truly stubborn “should” creeping up that a little reframe just won’t hurdle.
Try the Worst Case Scenario Gratitude work around. Here’s how it works.
If you still find yourself grumbling, and can’t find the headspace to be grateful quickly, create a timeline where you DIDN’T do the thing that you currently think you should, and imagine what happens, and that should give you enough fuel to find gratitude in your current situation.
“I want to sit and binge 8 more episodes of Ted Lasso but I should keep my double root canal appointment.
Oh geez. That is rough. And I am not even sure they do double root canals in one sitting but okay.
“I have just decided to watch Ted Lasso for 8 more hours (roughly). I just got charged $30 for cancelling…Meh. I’ll take it. Ted Lasso is worth it…Oh..but now my tooth still hurts…and my dentist cant see me for another 6 months. And now my tooth – er teeth, are going 6 more months untreated. How bad will it be then? Will it wear away the bone? Will it cost more now to treat the problem teeth? I might need surgery at that point. And lots of recovery after. The problem seems as if it has compounded on itself. Going when I initially had my appointment would have been wise, and I do love my teeth.” Let’s undo this.
“I really don’t want to live out the worst case scenario of skipping my double root canal. I love my teeth, and I also love not making problems worse. Instead, I am really glad I have this day free to take care of a problem that had I waited, could have been worse…”
Ahh. Easy peasy. Hope this helps. Now I
should, have to, get to go to my 9 to 5….
Catch you all later!