There once was a lady named Sally, and her favourite thing to say was “I can’t.” I can’t came before everything in her life. I can’t was every thought in her head and preceded most things that came out of her mouth.
When Sally rang me up, she said, “I can’t afford it right now, but it sounds like what I need.” A few weeks passed, and Sally made an appointment. She couldn’t make the first appointment, or the second. Third time was a charm. When she did arrive, she was late and flustered. “I can’t find parking anywhere I go.” I said that was fine, take a seat and tell me what’s brought you here.
“I can’t seem to get back to the person I was. I can’t sleep. I can’t focus. I used to be good at doing things and now I can’t even make it on time for an appointment. I can’t get my kids to listen to me and I can’t get my husband to help me out round the house. I should be able to do these things but I just can’t. I just can’t get it together. I want to do things, but I can’t. I don’t have time and I can’t fit in all the stuff I need to do. I can’t meditate because I can’t switch my mind off. Oh and I can’t be here longer than 3pm as that’ll meant I can’t get the shopping in.”
I think it was Ghandi that said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” Food for thought?
Sally’s life was plagued with “I can’t” and there was no escape. Can’t was everywhere she went, following her every word, thought and move. Can’t became her personal assistant to get her out of things she didn’t want to have to face. She was missing all the things that were happening in her life, and although there was plenty of evidence to show that she could, the only evidence that Sally could see being reinforced was, “I can’t” and so she was right. “I can’t” became her comfort zone. It became her reason not to participate and her excuse not to see what was actually happening in her life and the good things that were right in front of her. If something was scary, “I can’t” and if something was easy, “I can’t make time for that” and so her favourite word became can’t.
Sally didn’t realise that can’t was taking away her power. Can’t was the elephant sitting on her chest and the bulldozer pushing her in to a corner. Can’t was what was stopping her from being the person she used to be. Can’t was stealing her sleep and her focus. Can’t was controlling her time. Can’t stopped her from being assertive and stopped her asking for help. Can’t was the uninvited guest in her life that she was carrying around and entertaining against her will. Can’t was the single biggest block in her getting back to where she wanted to be.
So I told her nothing would change. That’s it. That’s all there is for the rest of your life. You can’t change things. Imagine that Sally…play that through in your mind – nothing changes and how you feel stays the same forever and you can’t do anything about it – how would that feel? Then the power of I can’t came through loud and clear. Sally broke down. “I CAN’T CARRY ON LIKE THIS!” and finally something changed.
Can’t became “I am willing to do something about this” and Sally’s energy began to change. “I am willing to try new things that might help me. I am trying to be more assertive. I am working on myself. I am making time and space to work things through. I am recognising when I use the word “can’t” and finding words that feel better, like I can, and I am.”
As soon as Sally spotted the power that word had over her life, everything changed. She was really starting to see what she was doing to herself, and it was as simple as pointing out that nothing needed to change. When she thought about what she didn’t want, it made her think about what she did want and she could see how she was standing in her own way.
I am working with Sally to teach her meditation techniques to quieten her mind, and she now knows that she can meditate her way through “I can’t”. We worked on getting some realistic goals in place and Sally learnt how to notice what her mind was doing. Sally is now brimming with positivity. When she spots someone who uses I can’t, she immediately recognises herself and she’s in there trying to help others with the tools that I’ve taught her. Sally is making a difference to everyone around her in a positive way.
All it takes it to turn one “I can’t” in to “I can” is you picking up that phone and making that first appointment. I can help you to wake up everyday and think “I can…and I bloody well will!” If Sally did it, so can you!!!
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