Make a habit of asking yourself, “What do I want?” This can be as simple as do I want chocolate or vanilla to more challenging decisions like, “Do I want to do what the other person wants or do I want to do what I want?” After being clear on what you want, you are empowered to make the choice. You can choose to do what you want or you can choose to do what someone else wants you to do. You do not have to change what you end up doing, but by realizing you are making a choice to do what you want or to do what someone else wants you to do, you reduce or even eliminate the emotional distress associated with thinking you are forced to do something.

Now here is a stretch. I believe that we are always doing what we want, given the circumstances. We sometimes do things unpleasant (things we say we do not want to do), but we choose to do them. By choosing to do something it has to be what we want to do given the entire circumstance. This means often doing things that are not pleasant but we “prefer” them to the alternatives given the bigger picture. Give this some thought and see if it resonates with you. I guarantee that embracing this perspective will reduce emotional distress and you need not change your behavior unless you want to.