Our thoughts are made up of words. Language is at the heart of our thinking and allows us to recognize how our words influence our thoughts, our feelings, and subsequently our behaviors. Rather than looking at all possible words that are available, it is much more efficient to focus on a few key words that significantly drive our thoughts and actions. Often these words are contained in strong, absolute terms such as have to, ought to, must, and should.
These absolute terms have a highly either/or; allor-nothing; black/white orientation. Often we have not put much thought into a range of possibilities when we use these terms such as “I have to go”; “We must get there;” and “This has to be done”.
These words are often used to motivate ourselves or others to action; however, they most likely are not as grounded in reality, and carry significant liabilities.
If we consider there is nothing we absolutely have to do (except die) we are free to recognize that we do have the option of choice in our thoughts and actions. Often we confuse very strong commitments as have to’s (e.g. support family, etc.).