Love Letter #22: There is Nothing You HAVE To Do

In our class on Saturday, Cracking the Code to Fearless Self-Approval 🤩 we talked about the model I use in my coaching practice and how the thoughts we think create our reality AND we have the ability to choose those thoughts. To choose thoughts that feel empowering instead of disempowering. Choice. 

There was a discussion about ‘having’ to take care of things (housework, work) and people before taking care of or doing something kind for ourselves.. 

It makes perfect sense. Think about having to eat everything on your plate before having dessert. Or doing all your chores or homework before you could go outside and enjoy yourself. But we’re not little kids anymore and these are someone else’s beliefs that have been imposed on us. 

The truth is there is NOTHING you HAVE to do. Truly nothing. 

If the baby is crying, you do not have to pick her up. If the mortgage payment is due, you don’t have to pay it. Have a job? You don’t have to go to work. 

Yes, there are outcomes to making every choice…but you are always choosing to or not to. 

Today, I want to share a thought model I used in the class, and how it applies to the power of choice: C T F A O 

C= circumstances: which are almost always neutral. I know this is often hard to wrap the brain around, especially in circumstances that seem difficult or traumatic. But we all interpret these differently. What I think is bad you may have no opinion about. Neither of us is right or wrong. We simply see things differently. 

T = Thought: how we interpret the circumstance. You and I have the power to choose what we think about any circumstance. Much of our thoughts are automatic based on our beliefs and patterns. The more we adopt an observer’s mind – witnessing ourselves – the more aware we can be of our automatic responses and, choose differently if we want to. 

Shakespeare wrote: “There is nothing either good or bad. But thinking makes it so.” 

You and I make the circumstances in our lives mean something. 

F = Feelings: all feelings are INFORMATION. Period. This is the most important piece of this methodology. All feelings are information. They are not good or bad, positive or negative. They are the body’s response to what we are thinking. Period. It’s like mining for gold, to allow ourselves to feel those uncomfortable feelings so we can understand our thought patterns and choose thoughts that support the way we WANT to feel. 

A = Action: we always take action from the way we feel. Cookies. Chips. Ice Cream. These are my go to’s for soothing uncomfortable feelings. I’ve learned to pay attention to this and ask myself what’s going on. 

O = Outcome.  there’s always an outcome to our actions. These are not good or bad either. They are simply results that show us what we’re choosing. We can choose again…and again. (Formerly R for results -but I decided I like outcomes better 😁)

You can try this in your own life. 

Think about something that feels frustrating. Maybe you’re thinking someone or something ‘made you’ feel that way. But notice what you were thinking about the circumstance. That’s where the feelings originate. 

If you do try this, please do so without judgment . This isn’t about beating yourself or making yourself wrong for the way you are thinking. It is an exercise in awareness and understanding thought patterns, and how they create the outcomes in our lives. if you want a different outcome, you get to choose a different thought. 

You are 100% in charge of what you think…you just might not realize it yet. 


Change your thinking…change your life. Start here with Women Writing Their Lives. Winter sessions start this week! Grab a seat. Write that new, more empowering story for your life.

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