A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with a friend when she mentioned to me that she couldn’t do something. Honestly, I am not sure what exactly we were talking about, but I immediately responded back with “Well, do you want to do it, if so, why can’t you?” She paused and said, well, let me re-phrase, I don’t want to do that. That conversation is what prompted me to write this post. Honestly, if money and time were not factors, what do you feel you are unable to do? During the past few months, what have you told yourself that you can’t do? Why? How important is it to you?
The banned word
I wrote this to tell you (and my kid when she can read it) that we do not use the word CAN’T in our home. It is a word that is proven to have little meaning for us. It is only meaningful if I (we/you) give it power. It is not used in our home because sometimes we tend to use the word to skip out on doing hard stuff. Telling yourself you can’t do something just isn’t the truth. Unless you are able to discuss the rationale of why you are unable to do something, I don’t believe you. An acquaintance once told me “You surely can’t do that with a child.” I chuckled. I’d challenge you to try and think of another word to use when your mind tells you you can’t do something. Think twice before you tell someone they can’t do something. I’ll ask again – How important is it to you? Do you really have an interest in doing this “thing”? If you wake up and tell yourself that you CAN do it, your outlook may shift.
Why I believe you CAN
While I try my best to think positively, I have occasionally told myself that I couldn’t do something. Let’s use this example: I am a runner – a slow one, I don’t have the physique of runners who are on television running in the Olympics – I am short and not lean at all. I didn’t grow up running, and let me tell you I can find every excuse not to run. A few years ago, I started intentional goal setting – one goal was to complete a half marathon. I made a plan, tried to cross-train, and honestly, ran that half marathon race, had a blast, and I have never looked back. Running is a part of who I am. Since my first half marathon, the inaugural Zydeco Half Marathon here in Lafayette, I have completed around a dozen or so half marathons. I have completed 1/2 marathons in California and in Massachusetts. I completed the Dopey Challenge in Disney World a few years ago (4 races in 4 days – the last race was a full marathon). I run a 10k almost every Sunday. If you have traveled down Camellia on Sunday from 6-9 am, you have likely driven past me and my running partner. It is the highlight of my week. People ask me why I run – my response is always why not? I don’t know if it is high self-esteem from all of those self-help books that I read, an optimistic/positive outlook, or just defiance that allows me to feel without a shadow of a doubt that if I have the desire to do something, I can and I will. It probably is a mixture of all three plus having super amazing accountability partners and supportive friends and family. If you want to do something, make a plan, and do it. Goal setting for me has been a game/life changer. But what if I told myself that I was unable to do it? Would I have ever tried?
I try really hard to focus my energy on positive things, but I am human. I do fail. What I will tell you is I try my best to avoid the word can’t. Words matter. You are capable. You are worthy. You are built in His image. You are more than able. You can do hard things.
I love when people give me their unsolicited opinion (insert eye roll), but folks do it ALL THE TIME. Oh, you can’t do that – you have a young child. You don’t look like a runner. Did you win the race? You did what?? We all know these people. These folks are everywhere- at work, our kid’s schools, the mom on aisle 3 at Target, the family member who tells you why she was not able to do the thing you have a deep desire to do. So, for anyone who has told me what I can’t do – watch me, I’ll do it twice.