I Told Myself "I Can't" … But, Actually What I Really Meant Is "I Won't"

by candy barone Sep 29, 2023

How many times have you fell victim to the debilitating notion that you can’t do something? 

My guess … probably more times than you can count. 

It tends to be a default phrase when the going gets tough. I can’t do ‘x’ thing. I can’t be vulnerable. I can’t let them see me sweat. I can’t fail. I can’t hold myself accountable. I can’t be a thought leader

I can’t … I can’t … I can’t. 

Oh, how we can’t. We can’t all over ourselves. 

Yet, isn’t what we actually mean won’t

Such that: I won’t do “x” thing. I won’t be vulnerable. I won’t let them see me sweat. I won’t allow myself room to fail. I won’t hold myself accountable. I won’t step up and be a thought leader

In fact, I would offer and argue, that there is very little we can’t do given the opportunities or in making the decision to do so. 

The human brain is miraculous that way. When we decide something is so, we rearrange not only our thoughts, but our entire energetic frequency, as a result. We raise our vibration to match the decision made. 

And, the Universe follows suit. It is designed to support us and will rearrange itself to bring to us the very thing we set our intention to. 

So, isn’t it really a matter of you won’t not that you can’t? 

When you tell yourself you can’t, you really are implying that this thing is not a priority for you, or that you simply don’t want to do it.

This hit me square between the eyes a few months ago when I was working with one of my mentors. She asked the question: 

“What is it that you feel you can’t do?” 

Immediately, I had a laundry lists of things fill my brain. A litany of can’ts flooded every crevice of my body. All the reasons why I told myself I couldn’t take my next leap, take the action in front of me. 

Then she prompted us, not so gently, with her next bold question:

Is it really a can’t or is it just that you won’t?

I honestly never thought about it like that before. I didn’t even realize how easy the word ‘can’t’ flew out of mouth. It’s like it was second-nature, just the way it was. And, in that moment I recognized the all the programming and conditioning twisted around it. 

How many times in my life have people told me I can’t? How many times did someone make a comment about me being ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’? How many times did I believe them?

It’s a theme that has run rampant in my life. All the can’ts, shoulds, and shouldn’ts that have been cast upon me. The limiting beliefs and words of so many individuals around me. 

No wonder I didn’t see it. 

At least, not until that moment. It was like a veil was lifted. I thought about the book, The Biggest Leap, and all the ways Gay Hendricks talks about how we create upper limits for ourselves. 

I see that now. 

I see how I was holding myself back. How I had a tape playing in my mind that I wasn’t even aware of. How many times have I shared on stage how I reframe the classic, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” statement into a less conditional, waiting for all my ducks to be in a row, external validation or permission, to a more empowering frame of:

Where’s there a will … there’s a Candy Barone. Where there’s a will, there’s ME. And, where there’s a will, there’s YOU. 

Because I also know the power that when I am crystal clear something is going to happen or be, then so it is. This or something better ALWAYS shows up. As Lisa Nichols says in The Secret, “I know like I know like I know like I know” in those moments. 

And, when I know … there ain’t nothing going to stop me. There is no can’t!

When you insist of staying stuck in the energy and belief that you can’t, you also keep yourself playing small as a victim to your life and circumstances.

When, however, if you take ownership of your choices and realize that what you really mean is that you won’t, you then empower yourself to:

  • First, take personal responsibility — meaning that we recognize and understand that we have agency over our decisions. That we are sovereign beings who can make almost anything possible … if we want it badly enough and it aligns with our highest self. 
  • Second, you need to get brutally honest with yourself— and, begin to ask questions like: Do I really want this? Am I willing to take the inspired action that’s my piece in order to bring it to fruition? It is a priority for me? 
  • Third, make an intentional investment — understanding that every decision you make or don’t make has a cost associated with it. You either are investing in yourself and creating a bigger, brighter your future, or you are creating sunk opportunity costs, where you will pay the price of staying stagnant and nothing with change. 

[Note: when you decide not to make a decision … this is single-handedly the most powerful choice of all because when you choose not to decide or do anything, you strip yourself of your own personal power and you give it away.]

When you recognize that can’t keeps you powerless, won’t empowers you., you flip the script. You take extreme ownership of your life, of your decisions, and of your perceived reality. 

You belly up to the proverbial table and ask yourself the tough questions:

  • What excuses (can’ts) am I making?
  • What am I tolerating (including my own bullshit stories)?
  • Where am I shoulding all over myself? 
  • What is it I really won’t do? Why?
  • What is really not a priority for me right now?
  • Am I willing to stand in my truth and get clear on what I want?
  • Am I willing to hold myself accountable and do my part?

So, when you tell yourself, “I can’t” … do you really mean, “I won’t”?

For more, please follow me on Instagram: @candy_barone or LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/candybarone/ tune into my podcast: Aligned As F*ck


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