About this post: If you’re like me and tend to say “can’t” a whole lot more than you’d like, this post might make you think a little about the language you’re using and why…and maybe change your “you can’t’s” to “you can!”
I’ve spent a lot of my life saying “I can’t.”
I can’t draw.
I can’t sing.
I can’t curse on my blog.
I can’t push through some awful memories.
I can’t put myself out there.
I can’t play piano.
I can’t do yoga.
I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!
Time and again, the c-word slips into my vocabulary but it’s time for it to STOP! I mean, I’m not saying I’m about to go and suddenly do all of the things I’ve said I couldn’t do…but the language itself is holding me back!
For starters, I’m an educated, amazing, hilarious, kind and fabulous woman and I CAN DO ANYTHING I DARN WELL CHOOSE!
When Can’t Means Won’t
Instead of “can’t” …what I sometimes mean is “won’t.” I’ve made a decision NOT to do something and need to be comfortable with my decision and stand my ground. I’ve CHOSEN, for specific reasons, and those reasons were well thought out.
For example; I’ve often said that I can’t curse on my blog when the reality is, I’ve chosen not to curse on my blog as I don’t want to offend anyone…so it’s more of a “won’t” than a “can’t” (but it’s not a HARD WON’T as the set of rules I made for myself are a little fuzzy…it’s more of an “I will when I want! but I usually don’t want” kind of rule!)
BUT…as another example; I worked for a complete jerk when I was in my early thirties and left a pretty good job because of him…then years later, someone asked me about doing some contract work with the same company and I remember saying “I can’t work for him” when I should have said, “I won’t work for him.”
“Ish” it implied the same thing…that I had issues with this particular person, but saying “won’t” would have solidified a decision I’d made to stand up for myself. The word itself would have had more power.
When Can’t Means GAH!
In other cases, it’s not that I “can’t” do something…it’s more that I’m so freaked out and so much of a chicken shit (see, I can curse on my blog) that I’d rather make a ridiculous excuse and bury my head in the sand, rather than own up to the fact that I’m terrified and inside screaming GAHHHH!!!
For example; it’s not that I can’t put myself out there and start online dating…I’m sure I CAN do it…in fact, it might even be a bit of fun. However, I’m so terrified of rejection and being hurt that it’s so much easier to say I can’t do it this month or can’t do it next month, or make a million excuses as to why I haven’t started dating TEN YEARS post-divorce than to actually try!
Suggesting I can’t push past bad memories…maybe I CAN, maybe I HAVE, maybe it’s another excuse not to live my best life because the thought of putting myself out there is terrifying!
The problem with “can’t” is that the very second I drop that word, I’m putting walls up around me. I’m doubting myself. I’m making excuses rather than living my true self. Basically, I’m lying to myself and not living my best life as I’ve pre-determined that I “can’t” do something.
When “Can’t” is a Choice
Other times I say “can’t”…it’s not really that I can’t do something and more of a choice not to do it.
For example; I CAN sing. I sing poorly. I’m off tune and I forget most of the words most of the time. But I LOVE to sing and in fact, I’ve often thought I’d love to be in a choir! When I’m in my car, by myself, especially on a long drive…I pretty much turn into a rock star!
However, I CHOOSE not to sing in public but most certainly, I CAN sing!
When Can’t Means Try Harder
Sometimes, “can’t” is just an excuse for not trying.
For example; I’ve always thought that I can’t play the piano and can’t play the guitar as I tried piano (and clarinet) as a young girl and couldn’t read music. But really, DID I TRY? Like…try, fail, practice, try some more, fail some more, and try again?
It’s not that my brain-to-finger coordination doesn’t work…as I can type like there’s no tomorrow…so maybe with practice, I could be a concert pianist or at least play well enough to enjoy a little sing-song! (Right after I practice singing a bit more as well!)
Instead of saying “can’t” when I haven’t tried something before, maybe I should just say “I haven’t tried that”…saying “can’t” immediately sends those internal doubt messages to my brain!
Drop the C-Word
I’m done with “can’t”. Done with putting up roadblocks before ever giving something a shot. Done with being too scared or too proud or too uncomfortable to try.
Because there are a whole lot of things out there that I’m knocking down before ever giving them a chance.
My Guiding Word for 2020 is Daring…with a plan that I’m going to have more adventures, take more risks, live more authentically…and dropping “can’t” from my language might be the thing I need to do to change my mindset.
Because maybe, just maybe…I can!
“You Can” on Etsy
In case you need a reminder that “You Can”…I’ve created a digital download print, available on Etsy, just for you!
For the price of a cup of tea (where I get to spend the money on getting myself a cup of tea!), you can download the “You Can” print, then frame it and place it next to your desk, on your gallery wall, or smack dab in the middle of your bathroom mirror!!
Click HERE to visit my Etsy Shop and download your 8×8 inch YOU CAN print. You’ll receive 2 files with purchase…a black with cream text and pink heart, and a blue with cream text and a red heart. Print whichever suits your fancy!