Three, seemingly simple words, but when put together like that, they are SO powerful. How do we learn that saying them is acceptable?
The other morning, while making Maelle breakfast, I asked her to climb in her highchair. She does it every morning in anticipation of her cheerios and yogurt. It's a routine. But this morning, without a thought, she looks up at me and says “No, I can’t.” As simple as that. She is two. I thought to myself, how does she even know these words? I looked at her and with great enthusiasm I said “Baby girl, yes you can!” The discouraged look on her face and her actions proceeding this have inspired me to write this post. She looked up at me, crossed her arms, put on a pout and repeated, “No mama, I can’t”.
Who told you that you can’t do whatever you want if you put your mind to it? It certainly wasn’t me! Or was it?
I am always a promoter of trying. My seven year old will recite my favorite line for you, if you ask her. She will say, “Mama says ya gotta try new things.” You will never know what you are capable of if you don’t give it an honest try first. I have just now, come to the conclusion, that maybe I live by these words because I am constantly battling with it myself. I am constantly trying to convince myself that I can do whatever I want. I am in control of my choices and if I want to do something, I am the only person that can stand in my way.
It actually makes me really sad to hear Maelle say this though. She is too little to be thinking that she isn’t capable of doing anything she put her mind to. My only hope right now is that she doesn’t really understand the meaning of what she is saying and she is just repeating something she heard on TV or from her sister.
So I took her hand, and we walked over to the high chair, and I asked her to try. She looked at me, looked at the high chair and climbed on up. Then I said, “See, you did it. You CAN”. She was really proud of herself; I could see it in her face. So maybe this was just a way for her to seek out praise for accomplishing something difficult.
Is it possible that accomplishing something always feels better when we feel like we have overcome something HUGE and achieved something that means more to someone else other than ourselves? Is it possible that at two years old, she already understands this complex human behavior?
I know for me, accomplishing something always feels better when you know that you have personally overcome some really hard battles to get there. When we succeed the first time we try something, is it less of an accomplishment than if we fail a few times, then succeed? I don’t think so.
My thought is that life becomes too boring when we are good at everything we try. When we work hard to achieve a goal, especially one we thought we couldn’t, then there is a sense of being a strong human being. We look back and reflect and think things like “Wow, I didn’t think I could do that” or “I must have super powers and be super human to accomplish that.” Like some sort of self-validation that we CAN do anything that we put our minds to.
I think the bottom line is that we all have a fear of failing, so we don’t even bother trying new things. Is it really easier to just say “I can’t do it” then to try and see if you can? What have we been missing out on all our lives by doing this? Let me tell you what I have been missing out on.
I have been missing out on doing anything that I feel completely passionate about. My mother once asked me what I feel passionate about. I looked at her like she had two heads! I felt like I was one of those people that have low to moderate passions. I enjoy a whole bunch of things, but passionate doesn’t seem like the right word to use for any of them.
The only thing that I could think of, at the time, was my husband and my children. Was that a bad thing? That is where I am right now. I am a stay-at-home mom and completely, madly in love with my husband. The three of them are my world. I wake up in the morning with their needs in mind. It’s also my job right now, and I love it!
I started to realise, while racking my brain for more passions, that I wasn't allowing myself to be passionate about anything because I haven't been the greatest at valuing my own interests. I am a people pleaser. I like to make sure that everyone else is happy before myself, typically. In my life, that usually hasn't left me with much time to pursue the things that interest me. For the past couple years, I have started to pick up some hobbies. Mostly due to the encouragement from my hubby. I think his theory was that if I could find something to do in my free time, then he would have more time for himself and his Xbox games. He's a sneaky little bugger like that, but I must make a note to thank him for this sometime.
So eventually, I got to figure out where my passions lie. I love writing. I love crafting. I love knitting and crochet. I love creating and designing. I love helping other people with their problems (probably why I have a Psychology Degree) and sharing my life experiences. I realised that these were my passions because they excite me! When I am at my happiest, I am doing one of these things! I wasn’t even really sure what a passion really was (that’s how bad it was) so I Googled it to get a clearer definition! All of these passions, in addition to the love I have for my family puts me right here, writing these posts on my very own blog.
When something is going on with me, all I want is for someone else to tell me that I am not alone. People like being able to relate to other people. I want to share the things that are happening in my life in hopes that someone clicks on my link and reads that they are, indeed, not alone.
It doesn’t always have to be about life changing events or dilemmas, but the normal stuff. Stuff like the day-to-day parenting woe's that we are seeking validation for, so we don’t feel completely crazy about our lives. The balancing act we call life, the in’s and out’s of being a wife, a sister, a daughter and a mother.
It took me a VERY long time to actually start doing this and now I am not sure if I would be able to stop, even if I wanted to. I was petrified that nobody would read it. Or that nobody would care about what I was saying. Turns out I was wrong. AND do you know what? Once I faced the fear, I was over it. I was over the whole “failing” and “disappointing the masses” fear and now I am just writing.
I have always believed in, and lived by the saying “Everything happens for a reason.” (I know I'm not alone with this one). It has gotten me through many difficult times in my life. And I believe, I am right here, sitting at my kitchen table, typing my heart out for a very good reason. I am not sure what that reason is yet, but I know I CAN do it, so I will.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. “ - Helen Keller