Have you ever said “I have to . . .” or “they need me to . . .?” Do you ever say you have to do something just because someone else wants you to do it? Maybe because they expect it to be done? Do you ever say yes to something and regret it later? Do you feel obligated to live up to others’ expectations?
Here’s one simple way to hack your boundaries using language. Instead of saying to yourself “I have to . . .” or “I need to . . .” as if you have no control or choice in the matter, do this one simple thing instead:
Say to yourself: “I choose to . . ..”
Once I started doing this, I discovered a massive shift. Even if in the moment I wasn’t really choosing, every time I caught myself saying “I have to do this thing,” I would change it to “I choose to do this thing,” because it forces our amazing brains to take a step back and evaluate. It kicks off an internal check that sounds like this:
Do I really choose this thing? Realistically, is it within my capacity to do it? Can it reasonably be accomplished given the current demands on my time and energy? Can I honestly fit it into my schedule, and where would I schedule this thing while honoring all my other plans? Do they really need me, or is someone else available? Can they do this thing without me? Is this a truly necessary thing, or is it just that they want this thing?
Do you notice the difference? Saying “I choose” causes you to step back, objectively evaluating whether it’s really something you choose or not.
This is related to internal boundaries and how changing our internal language shifts our external boundaries, because every time we say “I have to . . .” or “they need me to . . .,” we’re taking away our choice and our voice. We’re losing touch with our inner self.
“I choose to do this errand now” or “I choose to do this chore now” makes big chores and tasks easier, because “I choose” is empowering language. It gives you back your control and your voice in a very gentle way.
Try it out. Make your choice, empower yourself by saying "I choose," and let me know how it works for you. I would so love to hear your experience and whether you have the same amazing shift I did!
Grab the Gentle Boundaries mini course here