SarlaccIt’s a really common human thing to hold ourselves back.  Our brains will rationalize it and make it seem logical and real, but in the end it’s all about fear.  On the one hand that’s a good thing.  We should keep ourselves out of danger and doing what is healthy and good for us, but being highly developed social beings that are rarely being attacked by wild animals or swallowed whole in a Sarlacc pit our fears range the gamut from real to imagined to “wow! really?” and back again from situation to situation.

So beside the fact that we should be aware of when we are throwing up our own roadblocks or at least try to see it when we do it so we can choose to stop it when we’re ready to move forward, we should note how we’re setting up the roadblocks because what we make them out of is key to our tearing them down.  In particular, there is a large difference between the statements “I can’t” vs. “I won’t”.  That difference is in responsibility.  “I can’t” means I don’t have any responsibility.  There’s no point in trying because it’s not possible.  I’m not responsible for attempting to change things in this realm because there’s no way it can happen.  On the other side of things, “I won’t” claims responsibility for the action or inaction, as it were.  I won’t means I can but I’m choosing not to in this moment or for all time or whatever.

People really like the “I can’t” statement because it can’t be argued with.  Well, they can argue whether or not you can, but that’s besides the point.  It gives the person an out, takes them off the hook, makes them an inactive participant or even a victim of outside influences.  “I won’t” is a much more difficult thing because people will argue over that.  A choice can be changed or unmade.  A choice can seem to need defending.  A choice reflects the chooser and defines them.  It’s active vs. reactive and oh so scary to so many.

Again, there’s all kinds of ways to rationalize the blocks we put in our own way.  “I can’t because…” is something we hear all the time. So if you hear yourself using this phrase, check in.  Is this something you’re saying as a social nicety to get out of doing something you don’t want to do?  That’s fine.  We’re social beings and preserving relationships in a good way over small things is better than causing a rift for the sake of naked truth.  But if you’re saying “I can’t” to big things, to things that you know you should do, if you’re saying it to excuse not accepting positive change, it’s time to take a second look.  You could try saying “I won’t” instead and see how the entire situation shifts meaning and focus. Just one little word change could shift the axis of your life.