Why I Choose To Pick Up Shoes

I started out my day thinking about resentment and its antidote: choice. I was picking up several pairs of shoes from the living room floor, clearing off kids’ stuff from the dining room table and going up and down the stairs to drop things off in various rooms. ( I re-framed this as morning exercise, btw.) I wanted the house neat for two reasons-I was expecting a client this morning and I find I am more serene when the house is neater. Not museum-level mind you but, well, neater.
So, feelings of resentment start to creep in: Why can’t the kids pick up their own shoes, put away their own stuff, why do I HAVE to do this–and then I stopped and said to myself: “Hey, Ellen, you do not HAVE to do this-you CHOOSE to do this.” and you know what? I had a hard time mustering up any righteous indignation after that. I chose to clean up because I would not be happy if a client came in to a messy house. I chose to clean up because I feel calmer. Did I have to? NO! I could have chosen not to care if a client walks in to a messy house or to not nurture my serenity. Even though there may be negative consequences from choosing differently and you choose to avoid those negative consequences-you are still at choice!
Give this a whirl: When you catch yourself saying to yourself or others: “I have to…” Stop and think about what feelings come up when you say it. Then take a deep breathe and re-state it: “I choose to…” Now what feelings come up? Often getting all worked up about something causes us more misery than the actual circumstance itself.
This actually takes quite a bit of honesty with one’s self and others-to admit you are choosing to do something and not forced to.
What do you think?