A few months ago, I blogged about the importance of learning to say no. I told you that “no” was a much-maligned word, and that we needed to use it more often – that this was one four letter word we could use in polite company.
I don’t know what I was thinking, but I was wr…wr….mistaken.
It’s not that I was wrong, exactly, it’s that I was….confused. I could blame sleep deprivation and hormonal shifts, but, seeing that my daughter is 14, “New Mommy Syndrome” would be a bit of a stretch. Then again, stretching is very important to our health, so I’ll take it.
For whatever reason, I went from being unable to say “the n word” to only saying no. It felt refreshing, for a while. Saying “no” felt like I was taking some control of my life. It gave me much-needed free time. Time to read a book, or have coffee with friends, or (even better) take a nap. No felt really, really good, until I realized that “the n word” has issues too. The problem with saying “no” to everything is that it’s a very slippery slope from no to can’t – and can’t is a four letter word. It’s the filthiest four letter word I know.
Can’t is a dream killer and soul crusher. It’s the EIC (Evil Inner Critics) run rampant – the voices in your head telling you that you’re too old, too busy, too female, too sleep deprived to take a chance and try something new. The voices that make you question yourself before you even know that you want to try. The voice that sounds like you, whispering the dreaded “what if” in your ear. “What if I fail? What if people laugh? What if I hurt myself?”
And so we listen to the inner voices, those soft, sly critics who tell us that they’re keeping us safe – that they only want what’s best for us, that they’re here to guard and nurture us, to protect us from a cold and cynical world. I am here to tell you that the EIC is a liar, and that he/she will use “no” and “can’t” and anything with no or not in it to prevent you from achieving your goals. The EIC is a sneaky little bugger. More than that, the EIC is a LIAR (yes, I said it again). The EIC doesn’t want us to try new things – not because we might fail, but because we might succeed. And if we succeed? We’ll discover we have wings to fly.
The next time the EIC whispers “you can’t”, tell him that there’s an ant in “can’t”, and ants can do amazing things, including lifting ten times their body weight. Then get out there and soar.