Maybe it's having five planets in Scorpio, being an oldest child, or just plain being bossy, but I have never done well living in large community.
Which, you might imagine, is a struggle as I return to volunteer with (and live among) many of the same friends in the same small space for nearly ten years in a row.
We become like family, many of us only seeing each other for the annual high holiday of camp many of us who wouldn't choose one another, many of us with differing politics and identities.
Also much like a family, we come together once a year with the goal of fostering young people's growth.
We spend a lot of time together (24/7 for nearly three weeks) and with all that time comes conflict. Which is true in families we choose as well as families we are born with. But the difference is the conscious choice we have in making family with one.
It can be easy to get swept away in "have to" or "should" when truthfully everything we engage in each and every day is a choice. Naming it as such is critical in claiming the power in our own lives.
Try it out.
Notice when you tell yourself you "have to" or "should." Notice where resentment, obligation, and bitterness get tied together and how you feel when you think those thoughts.
Try rephrasing it and naming your choice. Here are a couple examples:
"I have to walk the dog because you never do..." becomes "I chose to walk the dog this morning"
"I should focus on my health" becomes "I choose to focus on my health"
"I should spend Christmas with my family." becomes "I choose to fly home for the holidays."
"I have to go home early" becomes "I choose to get to bed on time"
Notice how you feel as you adjust your thoughts in this way. Which thought pattern brings you power? Which brings you peace?
Different families different needs
In families we choose we sometimes have greater freedom to practice skills than families we inherit. I am challenging myself to adjust not only the way I think, but the way I use these phrases while with my camp family for the remaining week here.
If you're up for the challenge I recommend giving it a try, it may just deepen your relationship.