We all have abilities we’re willing to admit: I can read. I can drive a car (well? debatable). I can craft a well-written email. I can rap every word to Super Bass (and do so often). I can recite all 50 states in alphabetical order.
As an action requires more skill or experience, we begin to lose confidence in the proclamation. For example, I can do a headstand on a paddle board because I’ve done it before (and I have the picture to prove it) BUT I’m not so confident I could do so right now if forced to. Even though I’ve done this before, which proves I absolutely am capable, I add a tragic “but” to the statement. We’re all guilty of this.
You can even take this a step further: I’ve never written a book. Often, this limits our self-confidence even more. I may never claim that I can write a book- well, because I never have. So how would I know?
We are afraid to say we can do something before we’ve done it because it makes us vulnerable. We’re afraid to speak with boldness before we have achievement to back it up. And in limiting ourselves to declare it, we essentially hinder our ability to try.
I CAN write a book. No- I never have before, but I could if I wanted to. Would it happen overnight? No. Would I nail it the first try? Definitely not. Would it require me to make a lot of mistakes? Certainly. But I could. If I am willing to put fear aside, I take the vital step to ever being able to say “I can” by saying I will try.
For a long time, I said I couldn't start a blog. I’d blame it away saying I don’t have time (our favorite excuse, because it transfers the blame of our fear to making ourselves sound important). Well you reading this right now is proof that statement was wrong. Clearly, I could start a blog. And I did. If I’m honest, I never said I couldn’t because I didn’t believe in myself- I said I couldn’t because of the fear that would come if I did. I would be putting myself out there, knowing people would judge me- and not everyone would like what I have to say. Keeping my thoughts to myself was definitely the safer option- but how boring would that have been?
My point is simply this: right now, there is something in your life you are making an excuse for. You may have woven a beautiful lie that convinces everyone (possibly even yourself) that you have a reason for not doing it. “It” could be anything: running a marathon, making a career shift, conquering co-dependency, moving away.
Or maybe it’s not what you need to do, but what you need to stop. Maybe you need to stop drinking so much. Maybe you need to stop numbing your pain with distractions. Maybe you need to stop serial dating and be alone with yourself for a while. Maybe you finally need to drop the act and be vulnerable so that you can be known.
Whatever it is, you can do it. Forgive me if my high-school-cheerleader-self is coming out, but you can. You can- and you should. Stop worrying about failing, impressing people or appearing to have it all together. As Brene Brown wisely said, “Being vulnerable is our most accurate measurement of courage.” Putting yourself out there is the most human thing you can do. Any coward can put on a mask or live in a comfort zone. It takes real strength and confidence in yourself to let yourself be who you are, and live your life unapologetically. And it starts with telling yourself “I can", and not being afraid to try.