Recant the I Can't Rant, Part 1

renamed "why do I do what I do"

We all subconsciously get caught up in thinking that we can’t do something at one point or another in our lives. It affects our choices for our physical, mental, and emotional, and financial health. When we think we are not capable of something for any reason, it puts us in the mindset of being “right” about our beliefs and that alone causes us to miss opportunities and can prevent us from making better choices.

Being right is the equivalent of putting a box over our head and going for a walk. We will eventually hurt ourselves. So why don’t we just cut two very small little eyeholes in that box to see just what is really out there!

I am going to start with the physical aspect of I can’t. How many times have you heard somebody say (that someone could be you) that they cannot change their physical health because of genetic predisposition? That you are stuck, whether it's overweight, high blood pressure, diabetic, high cholesterol, out of shape, low energy, etc.

Of course you know that you can exercise more, change your diet, drink more water, and so on to improve your health, but because you think that you are stuck, you really don’t put 100% effort into changing what you do have control over. It is so much easier to just take the pills that you are prescribed and continue with your current patterns of behavior.

You eat and drink the things you are not supposed to, you don’t eat and drink the things that will help you, and you have every excuse in the book why you can’t find more time for exercise. Your current choices speak volumes about the level of self respect and self love that you have.

If you are dealing with any of these conditions or others I challenge you to go to the mirror and look at yourself and say “I love you” to that reflection. I already know the answer to that. You can’t do that and really feel that love because you don’t feel you are worthy.

The real reason why you are not taking care of yourself in the best way that you can is because you are limiting yourself based on your own self worth. If you truly love yourself, you take care of yourself. You only have one body in this lifetime. It has to carry you from birth until death. How are you taking care of it? Your priorities need to change and they need to change now, not later and not tomorrow.

You can live a full and healthy life well into your latter years…but only if you choose to change. Let’s now move on to the mental I cant’s. How long is your list? I’m not smart enough, I don’t have the opportunities, I'm stuck where I am, and so on. What were all those messages you heard as a child from your parents?

Don’t do this, don’t be like that, be more like this person, don’t be stupid/lazy/be more like…/. Those messages might now be more along the lines of: I’m not worth anything/I don’t deserve…/I’m always screwing up/I haven’t accomplished…/I’m not as good as…. I imagine that this list would be endless if everyone contributed to it.

The bottom line is that all these kinds of thoughts are buried in everyone’s subconscious… there is no exception to this. What is different about some people is that they choose to shift their focus off of these types of thoughts and move them into more positive ones. But that alone is not the solution.

First of all, you may not be aware of all of the limiting and negative thoughts that you have. Secondly, you may really believe these thoughts, not even thinking of questioning them or may not know how to counter them. Just introducing some new thoughts is like trying a diet. It only is useful if you stick to it, which most people don’t. Both diets and belief systems require lifestyle changes.

Changing your beliefs is challenging because at some point you will have to admit that you are not right. But you identify yourself with your beliefs so if you strip away those beliefs then who are you? When you take away what you know and what you are comfortable with, then fear has a field day with you.

The fear of the unknown can be greater than the fear of change so most people choose to remain where they are and complain about it instead, further reinforcing those beliefs each time they voice or even think of what is wrong.

Then we have our emotional I cant’s. How often are you angry, offended, hurt, irritated, bitter, defensive, lonely, unhappy, etc? Do you realize that you can choose your emotional reactions? You can change every single negative emotional reaction that you have if you want to.

What are your excuses for not doing this? Are you right about how you feel? Do you hear the words but really think… not me, that somehow you are different? Do you reject the possibility of changing your emotional reactions outright, not even needing a reason (see “are you right…” above)?

All emotions have belief systems as their base. Every emotional reaction is learned from your parents or other authoritative figures when you were a child. Most of you have not thought to question your reactions; they just have always been there. It is never to late to ask yourself why you react in a certain way, and to repeat the question until you drill down to the real reason.

Then you have the knowledge and power to start to make different choices. If you regularly have negative emotional reactions, it affects every other part of your life. You are too busy reacting to see what is really going on. You are too busy getting caught up in the importance of your own world to see that everyone else is too involved in his or her own reactions to really see you.

We assume that we know how another person feels and why they act the way they do.. how else would we keep finding the evidence to keep getting angry, hurt, offended, etc. It becomes a complete cycle, a catch-22 of dysfunctional communication and resulting reactions. At what point are you going to be willing to test the unknown waters and move past your fears and judgments?

Lastly we have our financial I cant’s. There are too many people caught up in the bare basics of survival. Personal growth is a luxury when you are trying to make ends meet, trying to feed yourself and your family, keep a roof over you head, barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. It doesn’t matter how much you earn if you are caught in this cycle.

The I cant’s that fit into this category are the I can’t make more money, I don’t have the skills or qualifications, I can’t afford this, I don’t make enough, I spend too much, I’m in too much in debt, and so on. What are the negative messages that you heard from your childhood? There is not enough money/ money is the root of all evil/money can or can't buy you love/money doesn’t grow on trees/we can’t afford that/don’t be greedy/if you work hard money will come/and many more.

The relationship your parents had about money was passed down to you, whether you are aware of it or not. You make subconscious and conscious choices based on these beliefs, which in turn help keep those beliefs alive.

Are you “broke” but eat lunch out every day? How much do you spend on purchased coffees, teas, dinners, and takeout? What else are you justifying buying that you really should not be buying at your current income level? Another aspect to look at is: what are your particular set of limiting beliefs that leave you feeling stuck? As with any other aspect of your life, this area can also be changed.

Your physical, mental, emotional, and financial I cant’s can all be addressed if you are open and willing to do the work. The caveat here is if you really don’t believe in what I am saying, you will make a small attempt at changing, fail, and find even more conclusive evidence on why you are right, closing the door to change more tightly. So if you aren’t convinced, then please don’t try this.

Then there is the group of people who think that the act of reading something is the change they were looking for. Change requires thoughtful introspection, sometimes painful self truths, and hard work. If you are not willing to do the exercises as you are told to do them then you will not get the benefits, feel like it’s not working, quit, and reinforce the old beliefs.

For those who are ready to take a personal risk, go inside of themselves, find the real reasons for what is holding you back, and are willing to work at changing, lets do some work. Many self help sources tell you to list out the negative thoughts and to replace them with positive ones, reminding yourself to switch your thoughts from the negative ones when you remember to do so.

This technique does work for some people, yet the mind gets bored and ends up reverting back to old behaviors if you don’t find new ways to keep those changes fresh. I would like you to start by first picking a category to work on, from one of the areas of physical, mental, emotional or financial. Pick something minor to change and save the hardest one for later. Once you choose one, think about what belief systems you have in that category. 

This is where writing down your responses is important. Write down every belief, whether it is positive or negative. Also add any comments that you can remember your parents made about the category you picked. This is a very important part of the process.

Even if their comments seem okay to you, add them to your list. Some thoughts will be vague and more of a feeling or memory then a thought. Describe it the best you can to add it to the list. The next step is to look at the first item on your list and hold that thought in your head.

Close you eyes and look to see how it makes you feel. What memories or other thoughts does that one thought bring up for you? Do you feel good when you think that or do you feel any other emotions? If you feel happy, and safe, then cross that thought off the list. If you feel anything else, then go to step two of exploring that thought and your relationship to it.

When you look at a thought or belief system on a deeper level, you need to enter the emotional space that is attached to it. Close your eyes and think that thought again. Identify the emotions that you feel in the best way that you can. Look closer at the emotions and see if you can feel the fear that hides underneath the emotion.

Remember that all the emotions are from your past experiences. See if you have any visual memories that are related to that thought. What types of hurt did you witness or even experience yourself? What was your reaction to that experience in the past? Did you want to hide, protect yourself, protect somebody else, or want to go into fight or flight? How did the fear affect you? What was your reaction?

At this point, breathe deeply and slowly into your belly and whatever feelings you are experiencing. In the past, you did not understand what was happening. But what did happen has left you with a deep emotional relationship to that particular thought. It is time to change it and create a fresh start.

You have taken the first step by going inside of yourself and observing what has been there for years. Love yourself through your feelings. It may seem like a simplistic suggestion, but the effects are far reaching. You have discovered a hurt that you were not previously aware of. It now needs your attention to heal it.

Start the process of healing by seeing your own innocence and understanding that the people in your past really did do the best that they could, given what they learned from their parents, the circumstances they were in, and the tools they had to work with. If you need to, forgive the people in your past for hurting you, but most importantly just love yourself.

You still have the memory of a hurt child in you. Give that inner child love and soothing words and whatever else you need. Think of any toddler that you know. Picture them running and falling and hurting themselves. What would you say and do? Would you hug them and reassure them?

Then do the same for yourself and the hurt you feel. Give your inner child unlimited and unconditional love. Now you have a better understanding of why it sometimes just isn’t enough to replace thoughts if you haven’t explored the emotional attachments and hurt that is generally connected with them.

In Part 2 of this Ezine, we will cover techniques on how to create shifts out of the past and make lasting changes. In the meantime make notes of your experience. Repeat this exercise in each of the other categories. At the end of each one, give yourself love. Take your time with each exercise and most importantly take extra time to give yourself love to begin the process of healing. Over the next few weeks, be aware of that part of yourself in preparation of the next step.

Ewa Schwarz

Thank you for your continued support.

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