The difference between have to and want to. A tricky line to cross. And harder to decipher on a meaningful level to you. I think it is one thing to speak about what is a have to and what is a must to because the blurred line is all too familiar. Just watch this scene, you will get it.
This was not something I thought I was a master of in my quasi recovery. I swore I only had to do this thing because it was the safer route or prevented me from engaging in something worse. In reality, it was my cop out. But at the time, I didn’t see it as that way. I would justify my actions over and over. To my parents. To my friends. To my treatment team. I thought my lists of have to’s were all securely in that boat.
It wasn’t until I was forced to stop or re-think my have-to’s in treatment did I realize they were more of a protective barrier to my ED than anything else. I talk about this a lot, that one phrase that my best friend in treatment left with me. Do one thing every day that scares you. She was that girl that joined me in creating a list of my so called rules, actions or thoughts that I felt were have-tos. With that list, we spent the length of treatment (and trust me a long time after) breaking one by one.
Still two years later, those have-tos are something I go back to. I found the first time around that my mind told me a have-to was a sane, healthy one but when acted against, I realized how distorted that impulse was. Recovery is all about actively engaging in that questioning and probing part of yourself. You can’t let complacency or progress stop you – it is about keeping breaking down more and more barriers.
Hm.. tough one to explain but I am hoping people can relate. For example, before treatment I felt that I had to exercise or do some sort of active recovery every single day. I had to I told myself. It kept me in recovery. I made better choices when I exercised. Blah blah. Reading this back, I realize how I was just avoiding that fear of not doing it. Not a have-to a must-do. Breaking that pattern was tough. It started with complete rest following my injury. Not doing what didn’t hurt it, not trying other ways to get that exercise fix, just letting my body heal fully without anything. Then it was taking those complete rest days each week. Then it was not planning those rest days and letting them come. Then it was not feeling the need to exercise on vacation or when I was with family/friends. I am proud to say- it is beyond freeing that I can still practice this one and it still is one I constantly test myself on. For example, the Cape. Besides the race, I kind of have no plans for running. Heck I want the beach and family time more than anything, running just isn’t a priority. Man that feels good.
It is sad to look back at how much time of my past was spent stressed by these thoughts of needing to do something because I am dictated it as my have-to.
This is a personal discovery. For everyone. I can’t tell someone, you can’t tell someone without them gut checking themselves. I call it a gut check because that is exactly what it is. I convinced myself for a while but deep down I knew a lot of my have-tos were dictated by something that wasn’t true or pure. Honesty is the best policy, even with yourself.
I dare you. Do one thing that scares you. Gut check those have-tos. And know you have others out there willing to help you break down those barriers.
Question: Do you see a difference between your have-tos and must-dos? Are they real have-to?