Something I have been pondering the past few days… “I cannot” is similar to “I choose not to” but not the same. I notice a shift in energy when I am clear with myself on which one is true.
I might say “I can’t” get up and go for a run at 6 am. It is too cold and dark and soggy outside. It is too early. But really… is it true I can’t do this? Nope. I choose not to or I will not, but the reality is I can. I can get up at 6am. I can go for a run. I can wear a jacket and warm clothes and carry a light. I can go for a run but I choose not to. Hmmm.
I might say “I can’t” ignore this work phone call at 8 am on Saturday. Or “I can’t” buy groceries on a Tuesday evening. Or “I can’t” change my schedule. Really? Well… not really. I can do all those things… I might choose not to though. Hmmm.
Finally, I might say “I can’t” put my toes in my mouth. I’m not flexible enough. Well… yes, really. Yes. I cannot do this, it is not a choice. My five-year old can put her toes in her mouth – it is equal parts fascinating and creepy to watch. But I cannot. I have tried. Hmmm.
If I were my own best friend I would take note of all the times I say “I can’t” do something and really think about whether or not that is true. Really really true. I can’t do it? Or I choose not to do it? They are similar but very different responses. If I choose not to do something I feel like I am owning it. If I say I can’t do something it feels like I am allowing external sources to make decisions for me. “I choose not to” feels much more powerful to me compared to “I can’t”. What do you think?
I fully recognize there are many things outside our control that fall into the “I can’t” category, besides putting toes into your mouth. But I think I use “I can’t” a lot more often than it really applies. I think most of the time what I should really be saying is “I choose not to” or “I won’t”. I am curious to see over the next few weeks what happens when I pause and really think about “I can’t” vs “I choose not to.”