Rarely do you hear someone say “I can’t” when they are talking about themselves.  “I can’t” is a response phrase.  When someone makes a suggestion, a common response is an immediate “I can’t”.  Which I find interesting, because in about 88% of all cases it’s just not true.  What the person really means is they don’t want to or they are afraid to.  But admitting you are afraid to yourself or another person makes you vulnerable an only really happens for children or characters in movies.  An admitting you don’t want to and so won’t is somewhat confrontation so while honest, we’d rather not do it.  So “I can’t” comes out and makes everything all right because it’s not about us, it’s the situation.  “I can’t” makes it not possible.

So what would happen if we stopped using the phrase “I can’t”?  What if we had to navigate all those social situations without that “out”?  What would you do?  I mean, you could go extreme and accept everything and try to make that crazy and chaotic life work.  And it would for about 2 seconds and then your head would explode.  You could just say “No” to everything.  “No” is a complete sentence and does suffice, but I don’t think you’d win ‘Friend of the Year’ for using it all the time.

How about stopping for an extra 2 seconds and considering your answer before you give it and figure out why you would be saying “I can’t”.  Out of town on a road trip – valid. So instead of saying “I can’t” say “I’d love to but I’m not available.  Maybe next time.”  Really don’t want to do that and want an escape route – find some way to make that boundary clear.  “I appreciate the offer but I personally feel that Clowns are evil and I don’t want to support them by going to the Circus.  Thanks for the offer.”  Scared to try something new for the first time?  Challenge yourself by trying.  Be safe, be responsible, but don’t hold yourself back.  If you need to think about it, tell the person.  If they can’t understand that, then they are not someone you want to be around anyway.

Challenge yourself to experience the world without the barrier of “I can’t”.