“I can’t do it!”
That’s what I said to the nurse as I was lying in the delivery room, suddenly knowing that Dylan was coming into the world whether I was ready or not. Up until that exact moment, I was fairly confident and ready. After 9 months of being scared but not overwhelmed. After being certain I could give birth without drugs. After looking at the entire pregnancy as a simple, natural process to get what we really wanted: a baby. After years of viewing childbirth as something that every mother does and I would do it too. After all of the preparation and all of the positive energy (with very little immobilizing fear). After hours of waiting for him to arrive that day, being induced, nodding with every set of instructions, watching football, reading my book and just being cool as a cucumber waiting for things to happen…here I was in the exact moment I needed to “do it” and my brain was screaming inside of my head “I can’t!”
The nurse clasped my arm, leaned close to my face and softly said, “my dear, that’s how I know you are ready and yes, you can and will do it.”
I did. Less than 60 seconds later (with my wife almost missing it because she went down the hall for a drink), Dylan came crashing into the world.
I told you that 4 year old story because I’ve thought a lot about that phrase recently…
“I can’t do it!”
Why on Earth do we say that to ourselves?
How many times have I said that to myself? How many women, men, mothers, fathers, children, people say that to themselves every day?
“I’m not smart enough, I’m not focused enough, I’m not strong enough.”
“I’m just not capable.”
It’s amazing what the power of those self-doubting words can do. They can numb, cripple and immobilize you. I’m fairly certain that EVERYONE has moments of self-doubt, some more than others, but yet nobody wants to actually talk about the subject. So, I’m happy to talk about it.
I lost my job when I was the sole breadwinner, supporting a family of 4. I was frantic and was able to land some interviews at very big-named corporations. But I walked into every interview thinking, “This is for lawyers smarter than me. I can’t do this. I’m not a good enough lawyer to even be here.” I’m pretty sure no matter how I played the interview, the message I was telling myself was the one being heard loud and clear by the interviewer.
In my self-growth push the past 18 months, I’ve been trying to focus on the things that make my journey so much harder. There are definitely barriers outside of my control that may make things harder than I’d like but how much really, truly is external and how much is within my sole and absolute control?
How many of us put up our own hurdles, barriers and obstacles all the time without thinking? It happens in parenting all the time, doesn’t it?
“I can’t follow through on this parenting plan.”
“I can’t be this or that for my kids.”
“OMG I’m screwing this whole parenting thing up!”
Not only do we tell ourselves we can’t, then we very harshly talk to ourselves as failures when, in fact, we don’t. The hardest thing for us to do is deliver a message to ourselves that we can do, we are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, capable enough to DO THINGS.
Here’s my thoughts for the day when you feel that “I suck” voice in your head:
- Believe in what and who you are.
- Remind yourself that you. can. control. this.
- Forgive (yourself) more.
- Give yourself CREDIT now, today – don’t wait for outside praise.
- Talk kindly, encourage and give faith to yourself.
- Focus on the positive, embrace your strengths
And while this may seem sappy and something silly to do, I LOVE this video that shows how hard and uncomfortable, but how important it is, to go through the motions of writing a love letter to yourself once in a while.