Photo by Mikito Tateisi via Unsplash
In August 2017, I took in a rescue dog. Charlie was in rough shape when he arrived — he had a horrible skin infection, was malnourished, abused and heartworm positive. He was so timid in his new environment. He opted to avoid a soft bed because a concrete floor was all he knew. Love was an unfamiliar concept, but that along with patience and many treats, Charlie is the picture of health and happiness (and LOVES a soft bed). During his healing process, I learned more about self-care than from any prior book or teacher. I began to realize how much of myself I gave away and did for others those things they needed to do for themselves. “Shoulds” ruled my behaviors and fear was my motivator.
We began to explore parks for exercise after Charlie was declared healthy and soon found a favorite comprised of mulched trails surrounded by trees and wildlife. Other dogs frequent this path making each visit a mini vacation from daily life. After my hip surgery a few years prior, I thought my running days were over. Running had long been a form of therapy for me, a place to settle my mind and allow my soul to breathe. As we walked the trail, I wished to run again. One day, I heard my inner voice ask, Why can’t you? A myriad of reasons/excuses poured forth, but the more I considered them, the more I realized that, even though they were true at one point in my life, they were not necessarily true now. So, I took the risk and began to run. I only made it a short distance before my body said stop, but each day I came back and tried again. Little by little, my distance expanded. I expanded. What started out as “I can’t” is now “I can and I will!”
All too often we stay stuck because of limiting beliefs or false assumptions. Some are learned from our family of origin and others by our life experiences. Sometimes it is a family pattern, a story passed from generation to generation. No one in my family ever…
We put so much power in our belief of limitation that it becomes true for us. What would happen if we questioned our can’t and put that much belief in what is possible for us now?
Where does can’t show up for you? Relationships? Money? Success? Where are you limiting yourself because of someone else’s belief or a past experience?
There was a time I beat myself up for time wasted due to fear, but the truth is I had to go through my past experiences. It was necessary for me to learn the lessons. When a baby is born, we do not try to teach them trigonometry or quantum theory. They learn what they need to in a way best suited for them at their own pace. The same is true for us. If the Universe gave us every lesson all at once, we would implode. Each day, each step is necessary for our growth. Turn around and look behind you. Take a good look at how much you’ve grown and celebrate that.
Look at yourself with curiosity rather than judgment. Where are you limiting yourself with a belief that was true for a time but may no longer be true for you? Where is “can’t” dominating your life?
You are not the same person you were five or ten years ago. Heck, you’re not the same person you were six months ago. We are dynamic creatures with the ability to grow and change when we choose to do so. Some of our beliefs were necessary for a time. They protected us, enabling us to survive a difficult situation. Have compassion for who and where you were at that time. Now take a good look at those beliefs and ask if they are still true for you. What protected you before may be exactly what is keeping you stuck now. I encourage you to question your can’t.
We become conditioned to believe a certain way and continue to do so, even when limits have been removed. It takes conscious effort to see the limits and test them. We have to choose to expand. Our “cants” are like stepping stones and necessary for our growth. They are much like training wheels on a child’s bike. We cannot climb a mountain until we first learn to walk. Baby steps count too.
Question your can’t. Allow your past to make you a better person. Learn from it and let it go. Trust.