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Why "I Can't" is a Big, Fat Lie




The mind is sooooo tricky and smart!

It is the most amazing super computer in the world and it is programmed to keep us safe and alive.

Safe and alive means seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. It means conserving energy. This is how it strives to keep us completely out of harm's way.

Public speaking? Absolutely not! That could be embarrassing=emotional danger, says the brain.

Believing something new? No way. That takes energy=danger. Don't do that.

Trying something new? Avoid that. Possibility of failure=probable death according to the mind.

We are programmed to avoid these kinds of things and unless we are aware of what that looks like, we will pass it off as totally normal and acceptable thinking. The brain even has smoke screens it throws up to keep you from even asking if what you are thinking is even valid.

"I can't" is a common one. And there are "I can't"'s siblings; "I'm exhausted", "I'm overwhelmed", and "It was a hard day".

If you think about when you use these phrases, it serves to give you permission to stop. To hold still.

In my life, it gives me permission to binge-watch Modern Family and eat Luna and Larry's Chocolate Walnut Brownie Coconut Bliss instead of keeping to my macros goal and finishing up my to-do list.

Does that mean you never binge-watch and indulge in ice-cream and put things off until tomorrow?

No way.

It means you don't give your reason away to something outside of yourself.

Let's make a visual for this thought.

Imaging you come upon a wall in your path.

What you want deep in your heart and soul lies on the other side of that wall. Maybe it is a fitness goal. Or a new car. Or a new job. Or a bigger savings account. Or to be more patient. Or get more done.

This wall represents an obstacle. It's the challenge that keeps you from moving forward.

When you come across an obstacle in your path, what is your go-to reason for not moving forward? Take a moment to think...

Overwhelm?

Confusion?

When you tell yourself why you didn't get it done, what is it you give credit to?

We usually do one of two things.

We either make the wall (challenge) seem bigger.

Or we make ourselves seem smaller.

When we say things like, "I don't know", "I can't", "I'm confused", "It was a hard day", "I don't understand", "I'm stressed out", "I'm exhausted", these are just stories our mind is handing us with the motive of getting you to stop.

In essence, you are believing that you are smaller than that wall.


"I don't know" is really "It's going to take energy to figure that out".

"I can't" is really "That's going to be work to figure that out".

"I'm confused" and "I don't understand" are really, "I want to avoid the discomfort of researching that further".

"It was a hard day" is really, "I'm too weak to handle big challenges".

"I'm stressed out" is "I'm incapable of managing demands".


And they are lies.


Don't fall for it.

This is called disempowerment, and you are smarter than that.

The fact is, you can tell yourself other stories.

Instead of, "I don't know" or "I'm confused", you can say, "I'm still working on that one", or "I will figure that out".

Instead of, "It was a hard day", you can think, "I can do hard things", "I've got this", and even, "Bring it!" if you want to feel seriously empowered.

Not because you know you won't "fail" or "screw it up", but because you know that you will be okay through your best attempts and you'll adjust for next time.

Because you are tough like that.

"I'm exhausted" can be "I'm choosing to rest before I overdo it" and give yourself permission to rest because you need the rest. Not because you are too weak to handle fatigue.

You're not.

In fact, if anyone knows how to do fatigue, it's you. And you don't have to wait until you crash to take care of you.

"I'm stressed out" can instead be, "I have everything I need to do the things that are really important to me".

And be okay with your best.

And start again tomorrow knowing that there doesn't have to be stress, you don't have to be confused, you don't have to have a hard day, and that yes, girl, you can.

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