The Seven Stones Blog

Do I have to? Happily no.

By Gina LaRoche

How often do we say to ourselves: I have to do that. Take inventory right now, of the last five minutes or hour. How many times did you utter, aloud or to yourself, “I have to,” or “I should,” or “I must…”?

A client of ours shared her inspiration from listening to a commencement speaker who spoke about love, optimism, empathy and their relationship with the phrase “I have to. . .” I was also inspired by this message, and it caused me to experiment with my speaking about “have to.”

I altered my language of saying “I have to” to “I get to.”  And the results were immediate. Once I distinguished my speech habit of saying, “what if” as a Weapon of Scarcity (read that post here), and I think “have to” might fall into that bucket as well. When I declare I “get to” it feels like an antidote to the scarcity that arises when I tell myself I have to do anything. When I get to … that’s different.

And what a difference it has made. I have been a runner all my life, but never liked to stretch. A cycle arose where I would start running, not stretch, get injured, stop running, feel bad and then work towards running again. Repeat.

Last week, I ran, and after I ran, I said to myself: I get to stretch right now. It felt so inviting, so loving, so comfortable, I stretched. I felt good. I went running again and then stretched again. I went running today and I stretched again. I am looking forward to a new cycle.

I get to puts me in touch with how fortunate and blessed I am. In the short time I have embraced this new practice I can feel the shift in my body from dread and obligation to inspiration and energy. No matter how challenging I find the task or problem or how tired I feel, I notice a quality of gratitude and happiness arising as I become facile at remembering that I get to…

Today engage in this inquiry: What do I get to do today?

For me:

I get to breathe today.

I get to hug someone today.

I get to drive to Guilford and have lunch with someone new.


What I notice is how I take it all for granted.


What do you get to do today?


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