You Don’t Have To, You Get To

A pint of vodka sits on the kitchen counter next to a pint of water. For some reason – hey, it’s late – you’re only allowed to drink one.

Now, whilst vodka and water don’t look all that different standing side by side like that, I should imagine that if you choose the pint of vodka, you’ll feel a hell of a lot different an hour later than if you chose the pint of water.

And what’s my point? I suppose it would be something like: if all you do is look at the surface, then two very different things can appear practically identical. The difference, for instance, between saying “I have to” and “I get to.”

The difference between the two seems laughably insignificant at first. But then you try it for a day.

For all those things you resent feeling obligated to do – hoovering the stupid floor, brushing your stupid teeth, living your stupid life – you spend 24 hours reminding yourself that you could just as easily choose to feel differently about them.

Feeling obligated is nothing more than a choice. As is gratitude. But chances are that you, like me, are far more practised at feeling obligated. And if that’s what you’ve spent your life getting good, is it any wonder doing the opposite might be a little tricky at first?

So start small. Dip your toes into the “I get to” water. The more you do it, the warmer the water will feel, and the more you’ll want to stay there.

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