The best aspect of the English language is the wide variety of words to use to describe different things we experience. There are a plethora of words to choose from when describing what we see, think, feel, taste, hear, and understand.
Words can be beautiful. Words can be terrifying. Words can be indifferent.
The worst aspect of the English language is the verbiage we use to talk (or think) to or about ourselves.
And then there is that one word… the one word to delete from your vocabulary…
The # 1 word to delete from your vocabulary: Can’t
Whether you shouldn’t, wouldn’t, don’t want to, or lack the confidence to try, the word “can’t” will only hold you back. You’ll be amazed at what you’re able to accomplish by being more aware of how you talk with yourself.
Why people think they “can’t” do something:
- I shouldn’t because its wrong
- I don’t want to I’m scared
- Don’t know how
- Aren’t confident enough to try
- Think I might fail “can’t” do it on my own… need help
- If you shouldn’t or don’t want to do something, that’s ok.
You shouldn’t feel bad for saying “no.”
There is no shame in standing up for yourself and what is in your best interests.
You are your best advocate… don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty or inferior for not wanting to be a part of something or do something you aren’t comfortable with, know is wrong, or know is not for you. Don’t stray from your moral compass just because someone is pushing you to do something you know is wrong.
If it’s not against your moral compass…
- Are you scared? Why?
- What is holding you back?
- Are you afraid you’ll fail?
- Is it risky?
- Is it outside your comfort zone?
Trust yourself and have faith.
Weigh risks with rewards. Often great things are only accomplished when people take risks. Break out of the mold and don’t worry about fitting where other people tell you to be and what to do. If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to pave your own way.
Afraid to fail?
You will only fail if you stop trying before meeting your goal. All of the most successful people throughout history had many failed attempts. The difference: they didn’t give up, and you don’t have to either.
Take a break, clear your mind, and recalculate a new approach.
Need help? Not sure what to do? Find someone who has done it or has the resources to do so and ask if they can mentor you. Mentorship is HUGE!
There is no reason to re-invent the wheel when you can learn from someone else’s life lessons…
… (and then go make your own after learning from theirs). Also, don’t forget about Google, but take testimonials with a grain of salt. For example, many “expert network marketers” have not actually built a marketing network, but make millions selling you courses and false hope.
There is no reason to re-invent the wheel when you can learn from someone else’s life lessons.Nicole Graber | Gracefully Abundant
Why do you say “I can’t”?
Chances are if you’re like me, you picked up the bad habit when you were a kid. Maybe it was because you overheard a family member use it frequently… or someone you schooled with. We often pick up the habits of those around us, especially as young children. Or maybe you’re like me and truly felt you “can’t” because everyone told you that you couldn’t.
I remember moving to my dad’s house as a pre-teen and legitimately feeling as though I failed at everything I tried. I couldn’t do a thing. I couldn’t earn good grades. I couldn’t use kitchen appliances. I couldn’t clean properly. I just couldn’t do anything. My dad challenged me to remove the word “can’t” from my vocabulary and try again. For months we struggled with using a thesaurus to expand my vocabulary to better explain how I felt.
Mostly, my “can’t” habit boiled down to my not having enough confidence in myself after hearing my birth mom tell me so many times all about the things I couldn’t do, and how I would never be anything.
Slowly we tackled one task at a time to remedy that. My parents and grandmother would take turns sitting with me while I struggled through homework. At the end of the year in 5th grade, I earned my first set of straight A’s. Earning those grades was the biggest accomplishment of my life, and forever changed my perspective.
All of a sudden I could. All of a sudden I was good enough. All of a sudden I started noticing I could do other things too. With each goal checked off my confidence grew, my posture straightened, and my fear faded. It may not seem like a big deal now, but back then those results were HUGE and initiated my addiction to overcoming challenges, setting goals, and achieving those new goals.
Replace the “I can’t” habit with something more productive:
- I don’t want to (you don’t always need a reason for saying “no”)
- I can do this
- I want to do this
- I will do this
- I’m scared, but the reward will be worth the risk so I’m going to break out of my comfort zone and try
- I may not succeed on the first, third, or fiftieth try, but I will keep trying different methods until I do succeed
- I am worthy of receiving success
- I am ready for and open to receiving success
- God understands my needs, and I trust he is guiding me to be exactly where He needs me
How you talk to yourself impacts your capabilities.
If you’re busy putting yourself down, you won’t overcome and achieve any needed goals to change your situation. I challenge you to make a goal to consciously ditch the word “can’t” and use other words instead.
You may remember hearing over and over again “words don’t matter” or “actions speak louder than words” or the ever so popular “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Those stories are not only untrue… but they are in fact harmful and filled with people dodging taking accountability for the things they say.
Words matter. What you say matters. Your intentions matter. Of course, actions are powerful too… but words can inflict more damage than fists. And yes, I’m saying this as an abuse survivor whose physical wounds healed much faster than the emotional scarring that had some major impacts on my ability to succeed in business for a LONG time. But most importantly… the words you say to yourself have the most impact.
As a military veteran… my early adult years were cultivated in a culture filled with joking about incompetencies. When the culture started shifting away from putting others down, we shifted that to ourselves. Verbal abuse towards the self was a laughing matter… one that creates horrible habits that are difficult to overcome.
Abusing yourself leads you to believe you “can’t” do certain things or achieve a certain level of success. When in all reality… using the word “can’t” is putting unnecessary limits on yourself, and convincing yourself to believe them. It is just such a cultural habitual process that we don’t even notice it.
My favorite tools for breaking the cycle
This cycle of personal abuse followed by not succeeding to justify additional abuse needs to stop if you’re really ready to make changes in your life. Chances are, the negative self-talk has been going on for over a decade… probably since childhood. The good news: it is a learned behavior, and with enough conscious awareness it is a learned behavior you can unlearn and replace with the healthier opposite habit of positive affirmations.
There are two direct things I do and recommend to my members.
1. Identify the negative self-talk. Acknowledge that you’re thinking a thought that no longer aligns with you. Release it as words that no longer serve you.
2. Use an opposite affirmation.
Example: “I’m stupid and failing at life. This totally sucks and is proof I suck at life and will never succeed.” Imagine yourself holding a box containing this thought. Acknowledge it as a lie… an untruth… a phrase that doesn’t serve your life’s highest purpose. Imagine yourself throwing it up in the air, dropping it, watching it dissolve in your hands, or handing it to God. Tell yourself, verbally or in your thoughts that this is not your thought and are letting it go. Then tell yourself “I am worth more than this. I am worthy of future success. I’m ready to receive success in my life. I’m ready to move forward through inspired action to achieve success.”
Seeking help through unconventional methods
Personally, I’m a huge essential oils fan. They’ve aided in my physical healing, and they help me A LOT in my emotional and spiritual healing. Somehow the way the brain works, different smells trigger different emotional responses. We can also use different aromas to develop new beliefs and habits much faster than just thinking about them, especially when used consistently.
For creating new habits, I love using a blend of Balsam fir, coriander, bergamot, frankincense, blue spruce, ylang ylang, and geranium essential oils. A quick note on essential oils... if you’re going to use them, opt for a quality one. There are so many fakes out there, along with real oils that are diluted with harmful chemicals. Quality is everything and can make the difference between being effective vs ineffective, or even harmful.
- One empty 10ml essential oil roller bottle
- 10 drops spruce essential oil
- 10 drops fir essential oil
- 4 drops geranium essential oil
- 8 drops frankincense essential oil
- 2 drops bergamot oil
- 2 drops ylang ylang essential oil
- Fill the rest with a carrier oil of your choice (my favorite is sweet almond)
A Note From Nicole
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Nicole is a military-trained research analyst, homeschooling mom, healthy lifestyle coach, flexible business consultant, and writer for MotherhoodTruth.com and GracefullyAbundant.com. After living through and overcoming a season of homelessness and chronic health, Nicole developed a passion for helping others develop healthier habits using functional nutrition, herbalism, and renewing faith.