Facing the “I Can’t’s” of Feeling Helpless

How much does feeling helpless in certain areas of our lives affect us on a daily basis?

How much does it affect the big picture? Our dreams? Our life’s purpose? Our potential? Our sense of peace?

What has been the cost

of our succumbing to “I can’t”?

What if we could, even a little bit, figure out a way to shift our sense of helplessness in the face of feeling stuck? What if we could accumulate, one by one, a series of little shifts throughout the day? What if we could outsmart the little voices in our heads that insist that we are insufficient and that we are never going to make it?

Shifting the moment:

Taking on one micro-decision at a time.

I have recently noticed my “I can’t’s” having gotten in the way of a lifetime of responsibilities, opportunities and dreams. “I can’t” can seem so innocent, but I think it’s one of the most eroding responses to life that there is.

  • “I can’t study for that big test.”
  • “I can’t break away from that person — or those people.”
  • “I can’t get in shape.”
  • “I can’t live my truth.”
  • “I can’t make a salad right now.”
  • “I can’t cut up that cantaloupe.”
  • “I can’t boil those lentils.”

Now, there are cases where we can’t. Maybe oppression has us so down that’s it’s all we can do to barely function. But even then, I wonder if the strategy I’m about to present might work at least a little.

What if we start acknowledging our “I can’t’s” as they occur in our minds and begin to ask ourselves, “Is that TRUE?” “I REALLY can’t?” “Am I physically incapable of doing abdominal crunches right now?” “Is the T.V. that strong that I can’t pick up the remote and put it on pause for a bit while I run to do something quickly?” “Am I physically incapable of washing the bowl and spoon I just used?”

Next, what if we determine one little action in the direction of “Maybe I can” and just start moving to do that little action? In the case of boiling lentils (given that you have them and a stove top and a pan), it could be just getting a pot out of a cabinet. Then go back to what you were doing. But maybe, just maybe, you pull out the lentils too. And while you’re there, you think, “I might as well put water in the pot.” Once the water’s in the pot, you might think, “Hey, all I have to do now is pour in the lentils.” Then maybe, just maybe, you find yourself setting the prepped pot on the stove top and turning on the heat. And there you have it. You’re suddenly boiling lentils.

I’m thinking maybe this example looks like an excerpt from a children’s book. So what? If a strategy has a chance of working and it’s in a baby’s book, I’m on it.

Anyway, gotta run! I’m pretty sure my lentils are ready. šŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s