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Negative self-talk is telling yourself lies and then believing those lies. As you embrace the untruth, it becomes your reality.
One of the most seductive and insidious lies that inner voice of negative self-talk tells you begins with the words “I can’t.” When you hear yourself saying “I can’t” more often than not what you are really saying is that you don’t want to, that there is something else you would rather do, that it would be difficult or expensive or inconvenient, or that there are other things you would have to do first in order to take the letter “t” off of the word “can.”
But you can make a sentence beginning with the words “I can’t” more truthful – and more powerfully motivating – by simply appending the word “yet” to the end of the sentence. When you say “I can’t yet” what you are really saying is “I can, but first I need to (fill in the blank – get more education, save more money, seek help from someone else, whatever).
Adding the word “yet” to the words “I can’t” shifts your focus from the dead weight of the past and the self-imposed limitations created by all of that emotional baggage toward the future. The reason you think you “can’t” is because of things that have happened, or not happened, in the past.
You will believe that you “can” when you become clear about the actions you must take in order to remove the letter “t” from the end of the word.
In my new book Winning the War with Yourself Field Manual(available at Amazon or on our SparkStore) I share how strategies from military history can be used to defeat the inner force I call YOWE – Your Own Worst Enemy. One of the most potent weapons YOWE uses to prevent you from being your best self and achieving your most important and authentic goals is convincing you that you can’t.
The appropriate response to hearing that inner voice say “I can’t” is to reply “Oh yeah, just watch me.” And then working on the “yet” condition that must be met to remove the “t.”
In my novel The Healing Tree (also available at Amazon andSparkStore) Carrie Anne Murphy, who has been paralyzed in a car wreck, tells her physical therapist that she can’t pull herself off the bed and into a wheelchair. Amanda replies that is an accurate statement but it is not true.
How can something be accurate but not true? Carrie Anne asks. Amanda replies:
“It is accurate that right now, you seem to be unable to pull yourself up onto that bed, but it is not true that you can’t do it. The real truth is that you really can do this. But when you add the letter T to the end of the word can, it’s like putting an umbrella over a picnic table. It prevents the sunshine of possibility from shining in. Every time you cover ‘can’ with T and turn it into ‘can’t’ you’re quitting before you’ve even tried.”
Here’s my challenge to this weekend: Identify one “I can’t” statement that you have been saying to yourself that has prevented you from undertaking something that is important to you. Add the word “yet” to that sentence and identify the things that would enable you to remove the T that is blocking the sunshine of possibility. Now you will have an intermediate “I can” statement that, once completed, will turn what was once an impossible dream into an achievable goal.
Oh, one more thing: The 21-Day PledgePower course on The Self Empowerment Pledge has lots more great ideas for eliminating disempowering “I can’t” conditions that prevent you from being your best self and achieving your most important goals. Check out the detailed course outline at PledgePower.com.