Sunday, July 02, 2006

You CAN Do It

How often do you avoid things because you think you can’t do something? Do you tell yourself this is a self-protective move? This way no one can find out your flaws and make fun of you? Or maybe you tell yourself that if you don’t try, you can’t fail and failing would hurt too much.

We all have an internal dialogue and for many of us there is a tendency to shy away from things we think we can’t do. I know—I’ve written about this before. And yet I don’t think it can be stressed often enough—what we run from gains more and more power and what we stand and face we can often overcome.

We think we are protecting ourselves when we avoid things we think we can’t do. And sometimes it makes sense to do so. I do not, for example, foresee myself ever trying to climb Mt. Everest!

What I’m writing about today, though, is avoiding things that would make our lives better. Unfortunately, many of us spend at least part of our lives ruled by our fears. I look back and know that many choices I made out of fear, trying to protect myself, actually made me more vulnerable and ended up hurting me in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

If we think we can’t support ourselves, we may stay in abusive relationships far too long—or at least hand over control of our lives to a greater degree than is healthy for anyone involved out of fear that if we don’t, the other person will abandon us. The same is true if we are afraid we can’t handle being on our own emotionally.

If we think we can’t do a certain kind of work, we won’t try and may end up being paid far less than we are worth.

If we think we can’t set boundaries or have healthy relationships, we cut ourselves off from friendships and love that otherwise would enrich our lives.

What’s the answer? To do the things we want to do, even if they scare us. I don’t mean blindly doing stupid things but if deep down we know it would be a good thing, then go ahead and try.

One success, doing something we didn’t think we could outweighs all the words of support and encouragement anyone could possibly give us.

One piece of self-knowledge gained offers new possibilities for the future that we could never have had if we tried to stay safe by not doing this thing that scares us.

If we don’t try, we are telling ourselves that we can’t. If we don’t try, we are limiting ourselves far more than any failure could because if we try and fail at least we have gained information and we know we had the courage to try.

Many of us seek the validation of others, believing that will make us whole, that will let us begin to believe in ourselves. But the words of others, however helpful in the short run, count so little compared to what we tell ourselves. If we truly want to heal, if we truly want to be happy and create the lives we want to have, then it begins by changing what WE believe about ourselves and the fastest and surest way to do that is to prove by doing what we have believed we could never do.

Wishing all of you a week of self-discovery, of courage to do the things you’ve been putting off that you really want to do, that you know could enrich your lives.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),

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