Every day we think of things that we can’t do, or can’t be, or can’t feel, or can’t have…Frankly, it can become an obsession!
We see what we are lacking, and/or have lost, and we grieve, we feel stuck. Some of this type of thinking and awareness is helpful – it helps us clarify what we really do want and need, and can inspire fabulous changes in our lives. But, if you’re like me you really don’t want to live in I Can’t Land. And, sadly, it’s pretty easy to get stuck there! It could be that the ego likes us sad and miserable, or that the negativity bias of the brain wants to keep us safe, or that we believed someone in our lives who said that we couldn’t have that, or be this. Regardless, it just isn’t helpful at all to believe that we can’t have, or do, things that we really want to, and are able to do.
So…what’s a goddess to do?
Step 1 – “I Can’t”:
Well, it all begins with awareness of what we’re telling ourselves. Sometimes it isn’t even something we think about much anymore because we’ve already written it off, even though it’s one of our deep desires. Here are some examples:
- I can’t possibly go to college for, or work as, an interior designer even though it’s been my dream since I was a little girl.
- I can’t possibly travel to France.
- I can’t possibly meet someone I really love, who gets me, and who will be a true partner.
- I can’t possibly lose weight.
- I can’t possibly run my own business.
All of these “I Can’t” beliefs are from my own life at some time, and they all come with a second part that begins with “because”. Like, “I can’t run my own business because I don’t know how, I’m too lazy, I’m not smart enough, and I don’t have the backing or help”; or “I can’t travel to France because I don’t have the money or the time”, etc. This is where things can get messy, we could really go down the rabbit hole here, but instead we’re going to go straight to looking at things differently.
Make a list of your own “I Can’t” beliefs. Just jot a few down to work with here. You can always add to the list later (I know I do!) and then work with those beliefs too.
Step 2 – “I Can”:
We start to look at our thinking differently by just saying to ourselves…”I can.” Just that. I can. Feel that? It’s permission and an acknowledgement of our capability all at once! I can. Soak it in. You can. Think of all of the things that you CAN do, and that you ARE, and that you CAN be and have. Hang out here for a while. Revel in it. It is a fact that YOU CAN.
I Can’t, because….
Choose an item from your “I Can’t” list that you really DO want to do. (As you work with this you may find that at least some of the things we say we can’t do are really things we don’t WANT to do – but, that is whole other post!) For example, you may write, “I want to go to Italy, but I can’t”.
Next list all of the reasons why you can’t go to Italy. I call this the “I can’t, because” list. Maybe you can’t speak Italian, or think you don’t have the time or money, or the courage, or a person to go with, or it’s always the wrong timing, or….
Get more specific:
Now choose one of your reasons above and give it a few small revisions. “I can’t go to Italy because I don’t speak Italian” can be revised to:
- Many people visit Italy and don’t speak the language. I can too.
- I can learn Italian!
- I have friend who speaks Italian and she would be a wonderful travel companion. I can ask her to go with me. (Hey, this one solves two concerns!)
- I can embrace the amazing challenge of learning to do things in a place where I don’t know the language.
- I can learn how to get by with the language of gestures and body language. And I can pick up some Italian along the way too.
Keep going with this and think of as many ideas as you can – even if they’re a wacky! And then stop.
Reread your list:
How do you feel now? Thinking of possibilities and breaking things down into smaller parts will really open your mind to the “I Can’s”, and it will show you potential steps you can take to make your dream come true as well. You may also find that some of the things on your “I can’t’, because” list don’t really matter to you, and you can stop worrying about them right now. Do this exercise with each “I can’t, because” on your list. Do it until you start to feel that, just maybe, you CAN.
Make a master list of the very best and most delightful ideas you had when you made your revised “because” lists. So, for example, you may have decided that you can go to Italy and you want to be able to speak the language too – that is part of the excitement for you. You would write “I can learn Italian” on your master list. You may also have ideas for how you’ll pay for your trip, when a good time to go is, who you want to invite to go with you, etc. Place these all on your list. Give it a super name like the “I’m Really Going to Italy List” and keep it handy. These are your “I Can” responses to the reasons you’ve been holding onto to make sure that you don’t go to Italy (or do whatever it is you want to do). Use them to remind you of all of the things that you CAN do.
You may want to do this process with everything on your “I Can’t” list. Some dreams you’ll be able to do right away! Some you’ll find you no longer care about, and others will require a longer time commitment to bring into your life. Some you have less control over (finding the right person to love may be one of these). But all of your dreams will benefit from your belief that they CAN happen much more that they will from thinking that they can’t happen. When we see what can be, we immediately find new avenues and our vision opens to possibilities we overlooked before. And it is a seriously fun process too! A way to enable your very best dreams to take up space in your mind and your life. A way to be open to the potential and to see the gifts the Universe wants to give us. “I can’t” closes our eyes, but “I CAN” creates brand new opportunities!
The point of this post is not to make sure you go to Italy though. It certainly can be a start! From the master list you can make plans, and schedule lessons, and take steps. And if you get overwhelmed, or think you can’t do it, then you can come back to this process and use it again on those pesky negative thoughts. The main thing I want you to take away is that we all have stories that we tell ourselves, or that we learn as we go through life, and we believe them to be true. But so often they aren’t. And these stories can limit the choices we believe we have, and the options we think we can embrace. We need to be willing to question those beliefs if we’re going to be able to live our most delicious life.
I’ve discovered that I have the most ridiculous “I can’t” stories, and many of them I’ve proven wrong (it turns out that I can be an interior designer, and I can run a business, and I can find someone to love, etc.). But some still remain – “I can’t take a break or a vacation, because then I’m lazy, and I’ll go broke.” is one that lingers – though I’ve taken many breaks and vacations, I still have to reach past that thought! Some other very common beliefs are that time, and money, and space, and love, etc. are all too limited to allow us what we need. I want to challenge you to see your life as having exactly what you need. “I can have plenty of money for that trip to Italy.” “I can experience the love I want in full.” “I can live extremely well on the money I have, and I can always make more.”
You can, my dear friend!! And I want it all for you! I’ll be right here imagining and knowing that you can too.
Lots of Love,
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . Ask me questions, or share your experience – and you can also book a session via this email, and set up a free 20 – 30 minute consultation too. I’d love to hear from you!! You can also give me a call at 440-213-6666 to set up a time to talk.