You always have a choice. Even if you think you don’t or if it seems obvious to you that you don’t, you still have. You might not always like the choices you make – or the consequences they have – but you are still the only one in charge of making the decision.
I have to..
When we say to ourselves that we ‘have to’ do something, we automatically put the reason of fulfilling that task outside of us. We deny responsibility for our own action that led to this ‘force’. We have to do it from someone else, whether it our boss, parents, the law or our own inner critic. We feel like we have to do it, because not doing it would lead to some sort of punishment. Doing it will lead to reward.
This can vary from feeling like we have to do our homework (because the teacher says so) to feeling that we have to go to our jobs (because society expects that of us) to that we have to kill someone (because the commandant says so). Especially the last one can lead to dangerous situations, justifying an action by putting responsibility of that action on someone else. The soldier has to shoot because the commandant says so, the commandant has to give the order from his supervisor, the supervisor has to make a certain strategy and stick with it because of the decisions made by the government, the government has to… etcetera.
I choose to!
By saying to yourself that you are choosing to do something, rather than that you have to do it, you are admitting responsibility for your own actions. No-one can let you do something. You always have a choice. This mentality shift makes you think of why you are doing certain things and if they are worth it doing for this reason. What commitments did you choose to take upon you and why? WHY?
It can look like this:
- I choose to do my homework, because I don’t want the teacher to get angry. Why? Because it scares me. Is fear a good reason for wanting to do your homework? What about.. I choose to do my homework, because I want to learn something new. Or.. I choose not to do my homework, because I am not interested in this topic.
- I choose to go to my job, because I want to do what society expects of me. Why? Because I want to be seen as a good person. Why? Because I care what people think of me. Why? Because it is important to me that people who hardly know me think I am a good person. Is the judgement of others a good reason to keep on going to a job you don’t like? What about.. I choose to go to my job, because I want to be able to provide for my family. Or.. I (eventually) choose not to go to my job, because I rather want to work somewhere else.
- I choose to shoot this person, because I want to be a good soldier. Why? Because I want to be able to make my supervisor proud. Why? Because I will feel good about myself if I can make someone proud of me. Why? That means I am a good person. Why? …. Is that a good reason to kill someone? What about.. I choose to shoot this person, because I want to protect my family, friends and country from the danger this person can bring. Or.. I choose to not shoot this person, because I don’t believe that he/she brings any danger.
Taking full responsibility for the choices you make can have certain consequences. You might have to deal with an angry teacher. You might eventually lose your job or get fired. You might have to live with the fact that you did something unusual and people will judge you for it.
It is still you who makes the decision. It is still you who decides what you do and don’t do, and it is you who has to live with the consequences.
When making a decions, stand still.. and remind yourself of the fact that you always have a choice. Even if it doesn’t seems to be like that at first. Stay true to yourself.
My own commitments
It made me re-think my own commitments as well, and I remind myself of why I decided to make a certain decision whenever I feel like I have to do something. It made me change some things as well. I chose not to..
update my blog very regularly, because I don’t want to write when I don’t feel like it.
search for jobs whenever I have internet, because I don’t want to waste my travel time just because I feel like I should be more responsible towards society.
worry and make plans about what to do after traveling the world, because I or others are expecting this from me.
Instead I choose to…
travel the world, because that is what I most want in life right now.
to go hitchhiking, because it challenges me and learns me to be comfortable in discomfort.
to travel with a very low budget, because I rather ditch the comfort and spend less money than having comfort and spend a lot of money.
to write on my blog once in a while, because I like to share my experiences and my thoughts.
to currently work at a hostel in Tbilisi, because I enjoy exchanging work for accommodation.
to stay in this city for a few weeks, so I have enough time to get the visa’s for the next countries sorted out and have a break from constantly traveling.
What are your commitments, and why did you choose for them?