From “have to” to “want to”

A simple exploration suggested by Marshall Rosenberg….

Write down a list of “have to”s. Since we feel we have to or should do these things, we may feel conflicted about them. 

Then rewrite the list, changing the wording to “want to” and “because….”. 

This can have several effects.

I may change my attitude towards the action. There is more clarity around why I want to do it, that I am already doing it for my own sake, and less internal conflict around it. 

I may change how I am doing it, so it is more aligned with my reasons for doing it. 

Or I may stop doing it because upon closer inspection, I cannot find any good reasons for doing it. 

I can also expore the have to, want to and because through inquiry. (The Work.) 

Here is an example:

I may feel conflicted about paying taxes. I have to pay taxes. > I want to pay tazes because (a) I don’t want to get in trouble, (b) much of my taxes are used in ways I agree with. (Schools, roads etc.) This clarifies why I am doing it, that I am already doing it for my own sake, and that I am really OK with it. (For some others with different values and views, it may lead to – for instance – the courage to engage in open tax resistance.)

I can also explore this further through The Work: I have to pay taxes, is it true? What happens when I have that belief? Who would I be without it? What are the truths in its reversals? 


Initial outline…..

  • from “have to” to “want to”
    • list of have to/shoulds
    • change to “want to” and “because….” (clarify why actually do it, or feel have to do it)
    • shift attitude towards it (clarify that want to, less conflicted), change how do it (so more aligned with the reason we do it), or stop doing it (because can’t find a good reason to do it)
    • can also explore the “because” through inquiry 

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