The General

The General is our internalized voice of external authority that tells us what to do. It “shoulds” all over us with edicts like, “You should be always busy and productive. You must strive to be acceptable. You have to do what’s expected. You should be nice. You have to exercise and lose weight. You should know lots of things. You should do what we have always done. You must not stand out. You must stand out. This is just the way life is. You have to be successful, better than, on top. You should do the dishes.”

Yes, we all have a General.

The General gets us to obey by promising safety or threatening lack of safety. But following the General’s rules feels bad: tight, numb, heavy. Very draining.

Happily, we can get the General to sit down and be quiet. We can replace its “shoulds” with mission and choices. Notice, for example, how freeing it is to drop, “I must keep busy,” and replace it with, “I choose to relax,” “I choose to create or recall my mission,” or “Having my mission in mind, I choose to do this activity to advance it. Then I choose to wash the dishes.”

So much better.


In your corner,


PS: And in case you’ve wondered what would happen to society if we all chose to do whatever we wanted, no need to worry. We also get to say things like, “I choose to follow the rules of the road, to be in harmony with my community, to participate in society, etc.”


Today’s photo credit: bnilsen cc

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