Find a way to say “I can”
September 30, 2018
Slowly I began to see that many of the boxes I found myself in were of my own making. I tended to construct them, crawl in, then wonder who I could blame for putting me there. Who did this to me? I would wonder and sometimes ask aloud. That’s when I’d hear the answer: You did, Melody. You put yourself in this box. Now it’s up to you to get out.
— Melody Beattie, Stop Being Mean to Yourself
Each of us has our own degree of freedom. We have certain things we can do and certain things we can’t. Sometimes this freedom fluctuates at different times in our lives. Sometimes we are bound by our responsibilities to other people. Sometimes we have financial limitations. Sometimes we’re limited by what our body can or cannot do at any given point in time.
Alcoholics who know they cannot drink because they lose control when they do are people who are in touch with their power. They can’t drink, but they get to have a manageable life instead.
Healthy, happy people know and recognize what they can do and what they truly can’t—at least not without unwanted repercussions. But sometimes we put too many limitations on ourselves. We look around. Because we’re so used to accepting our limitations, we automatically tell ourselves, I can’t do that, so I can’t do anything else.
I’ve been to the house, touched the rock collection, of the author George Sands who lived in southern France years and years ago during a time when women had few rights. It turned out that George was really a woman who took on a man’s name so she could write and sell her books. Her legend and her books still live on.
Identify what you legitimately can’t do or what you’d be better off and more powerful if you didn’t. Learn to live within those limitations. That’s how you’ll own your power.
But don’t stop there. Look around and see what you can do, too. Be creative. Knowing what we truly can’t do is often a stepping stone to discovering what we can do.
God, help me own my power by surrendering to what I can’t do. Then help me own my power some more by discovering what I can.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
About the author
In addiction and recovery circles, Melody Beattie is a household name. She is the best-selling author of numerous books.
One of Melody's more recent titles is The Grief Club, which was published in 2006. This inspirational book gives the reader an inside look at the miraculous phenomenon that occurs after loss--the being welcomed into a new "club" of sorts, a circle of people who have lived through similar grief and pain, whether it be the loss of a child, a spouse, a career, or even one's youth.