It’s this kind of automatic negative thinking that prevents us from knowing how we really feel about things. It limits our choices. It disconnects us from our potential.
Think of all the scenarios where “I can’t” might be the first reaction, even before we’ve had the chance to consider whether we can.
A friend extends an invitation to do something unfamiliar and unexpected.
A compelling position opens up at work.
A new love interest appears maybe a little too soon after trust has been broken to bits.
Anything, really, that starts the heart pounding.
In order to protect ourselves from anything that might go wrong, we say “I can’t.”
It’s a defense mechanism. Risk management. A way of living that prevents us from getting physically hurt, or emotionally disappointed, or embarrassed or judged or vulnerable.
But it also keeps us peeking out from behind the window shades when we’re meant to be out exploring the world.
Sadly, we can’t feel the joy of grass between our toes if we never take off our shoes.
One way to move beyond “I can’t” is to embrace the discipline to peer deep beneath the surface to see what’s really triggering our fears. Once we get a feel for what’s really at the root, we can be more honest in our responses, such as:
“I don’t know how.”
“I want to think about that before I decide.”
“That feels too risky right now.”
“I’m afraid of getting hurt.”
Or, my personal favorite: “I don’t want to.”
So let’s not default to “I can’t.” Instead, let’s keep our options open and potential limitless – which can, in turn, reshape our choices, our circumstances, our whole reality, really.
And, over time, let us step firmly into our most joyful truth: “We can.”
Becky Vollmer is a mom, writer and founder of You Are Not Stuck, a community that reminds the dreamer in all of us that we are lucky to have choices, we just have to be brave enough to make them. Becky became unstuck three years ago after trading a nearly 20-year career as a newspaper reporter, political strategist and PR executive for a life (mostly) in yoga pants. When shes not writing, youll find Becky teaching yoga in her hometown of St. Louis, Mo., where she lives with her two energetic young daughters, insanely patient husband and by the motto: No BS, just love. She is working on her first book.