Freedom of will is the ability to do gladly that which I must do. ~~Carl G. Jung
These days it seems that through social media we often try to reduce complex thoughts and ideas into 140 characters or six-second videos clips. So sometimes when I pull up a quote I like (the one above is 65 characters–76 if you include the name) I wonder about the context in which it was stated, the words around it, etc. When I searched for the context, I couldn’t find it, just a lot of other blogs talking about free will. I first read this quote many years ago and had re-quoted it, apparently incorrectly, saying “Free will is the ability” versus “freedom of will.” Of course with no reference, it’s hard to know which version is correct, so for today I will go with “freedom of will.”
What stood out to me about the quote is that it speaks to a particular attitude. There are no doubt many things in my life that I must do. Every day, there are things I must do whether I feel like doing them or not. Thus it is about the attitude with which I choose to do them. I could grumble and complain as I go about them, or I could bear them with good humor and grace, or I can vacillate in between those states of being. But freedom of will gives me the choice to do those things gladly. It’s pretty well established that tasks done with grace and good humor seem to move along much more smoothly or at least pleasantly than those taken on with ill-humor and complaint. I’d much rather be around one than the other, and find that if I can do things gladly it goes much better for me and everyone around me.
How do you choose to engage in those “must do” items in your life. We have the freedom to go either way. For the sake of those around me–which these days as often involves my canine companion as human ones–I hope to more frequently choose to do what I must gladly and good intentions than the alternative. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.