Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Moving from should to want

I'm still mulling over the wonderful wisdom from the Dave Ellis workshop last week. In one of the afternoon sessions, he talked about the importance of language and creating our world with the words we speak. This isn't a new idea to me. I've been in groups that have talked about this before. But it was a really good reminder and he pushed it a bit further.

It makes good sense to me that if I want to be free of burdens in my life, I could drop the following words from my vocabulary: must, have to, should, ought to, need to. These are especially deadly, Dave pointed out, when they are proceeded by "you" as no one wants to be told what to do. No one really even wants advice even when they ask for it directly. What they want is encouragement to solve their own problems.

Instead of using these words that lead to obligation and burden, Ellis suggests just using "want to" or its corollary "don't want to." Instead of feeling I should go to that high school reunion, I can want to or not want to. When I do things I want to, I have more energy, more lightness in my life. When I don't do things I don't want to do, I usually feel relief, another positive thing.

Ellis says it's okay to do some things we don't want to--like the dentist. That happens. But coating them in need or should isn't helpful. These are interesting ideas to me.

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