Terre Pruitt's Blog

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I Can’t

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2011

So, I have been holding my Nia classes even with my injured toe. I limit my movement and coach the participants to move in their own body’s way as is the norm with Nia. So there are movements I can’t do. Even outside of Nia I can’t. I have been limiting all of my activity so that I can “save my foot/toe” for my Nia classes. There have been events and outings I have missed because “I can’t”. There have been goings-on and happenings I’ve skipped because “I can’t.” I can’t. I can’t because I am saving my movement. When I do a lot of normal activity my toe gets “tired” and swells and throbs, so I can’t do a lot of stuff. I have put this limitation on myself so that I can continue to move in my class. I have restricted my movements outside of class so that I can do as much as I can inside of class. I have placed “can” and “can’t” guides on myself.

This past week I was talking to a friend about something and I heard “I can’t” a lot. It occurred to me that I have been saying that a lot too. I can’t go here or there because I have to rest my foot. There it is. I have put restrictions on myself. I want my foot to heal so I won’t allow myself to do certain things so that I can accomplish this other thing.

I can’t.

By saying “I can’t” we put restrictions and limitations our ourselves. We do this to ourselves. So can’t you? Really? Is that word serving you? In the case of my foot, I do believe it is serving me. I really believe by restricting myself from doing too much I am allowing it to heal. The doctors always say “stay off the foot”. So that is what I am doing. But . . . .since I am saying that so much lately it is allowing me to see where I say it in other areas of my life. It is as if I only have so many allowances where I can say that and since I am having to say it for my foot the other times I am saying it, it sticks in my mouth and I think, “Why can’t I?”

Can I not because I have told myself that? Can I not because I have imposed this limitation, this restriction on myself? Is this a “good” I can’t? Or is this an “I can’t” that is squelching my growth? If I were to say “I can” instead would there be an opportunity to learn something? To experience something new? To have an adventure into something different?

Hmmmmm? The POWER of “I can’t” has come to light. I know, I have heard it before the positive thinking versus the negative thinking, but this is not necessarily positive versus negative. Sometimes it could just be laziness or just the I- don’t-know-what-that-will-do-so-I-can’t kind of thing. I believe that “can’t” sometimes is the correct response, but I am evaluating that.  So interesting to me.

What about you? Interesting? What “CAN’T” you do? What “CAN’T” you do that you know will be good for you? What “CAN’T” you do even though you know it will benefit your health? Why “CAN’T” you do something? Is it because you just haven’t before so you can’t possibly now? Hmmmmm? All kinds of questions and ideas, huh?

For me, I am stopping and thinking before I say I can’t. Even if my answer or comment is me saying, “No.” I am going to try my hand at rephrasing it and instead of just saying, “I can’t”, I am going to give a more accurate answers. Because often times, I probably CAN, I just . . . . well, whatever the reason.

This toe thing really has me thinking . . . . a lot.

8 Responses to “I Can’t”

  1. niachick said

    The word “can’t” is such a power-taker, yes? I love your blog Terre.

    Many years ago I remember saying something about “I can’t” do something or other. The person I was speaking to was a mentor of mine. He said, “can’t” is a crucifixtion of your innate talent and abilities.

    I’ve remembered that for 30 plus years. I still catch myself saying “I can’t”. I remember his words and I rephrase it to “I’ll think about it” or “It’s possible”.

    Many thanks dear one!


    • Well, “can’t” sure has power. I guess it can be consider a taker or a giver. It gives the power to the NOT DOING.

      Wow. That is a strong way to thinking about “can’t” (“can’t” is a crucifixion of your innate talent and abilities).

      As I said in my post, it hit home for me when I heard someone else say it. The person said, “I can’t . . . . .” and it was like a slap in the face because the comment was regarding something I had thought I couldn’t do either, but with certain circumstances I realized I COULD and I did. So that statement made me realize the person really CAN’T because of the statement, not because the ability is not there.

      I want to say that I sometimes think “can’t” can be a good thing. I love to hear people say, “I can’t” when they are offered a drink and they are driving. But as your mentor said, it can kill talents and abilites. So that was my point, when “CAN’T” is used it is a limit or a restriction we are invoking.

      Many thanks to you! Thank you for your support. You are so awesome with that. I really, really, really, really appreciate it!!!!!!!!


  2. suzicate said

    My internal “I can’ts” are my worst enemy. I think there are a lot of things I might could accomplish if I didn’t lack confidence in my abilities.


  3. Seems like I “can’t” make a schedule to include everything I want to do. But as you have so nicely pointed out, can’t is a strong word. I probably can and it would probably benefit my life.

    Events happen for a reason. Even toe injuries? Hmmmm..


    • 🙂

      I think that there might be some limitations you are inviting in by saying you “can’t” make your schedule work, BUT . . . at the same time, I think that you are trying to do too much (mmmm, ya think?). I say that with love, but I know you’re doing a lot of things right now. I would imagine that you CAN do everything you REALLY (REALLY, REALLY) want to do, if you stop and prioritize. I would imagine that the most important thing to you is family so maybe keep that in mind when you are thinking about where to schedule in some healthing eating, cooking, movement. I know that those are things you want to do (‘cuz you’ve said so) and if you do them you’ll be around longer to enjoy that B-E-A-U-tiful family you have! MUAH!!!!!!!!

      I do believe even injured toes happen for a reason, that is one reason why I “talk” about it so much because I am trying to assign it a reason. 😉


  4. Dimond said

    Many replacements for I can’t or any other negatives we tend to use.
    “It’s not in my best interest at this time.”
    “Today is a healing day.”
    “Not today.”
    “Maybe another time.”
    “I have another priority.”
    Etc. Etc.


    • These sound like refusal of something or another where it might actually be in your best interest to not do something. Good. Thanks.

      There are also the “I can’ts” that limit ourselves. Where if we actually thought about it what we “can’t” do is actually quite “do-able” and good for us. For instance . . .”I can’t eat breakfast in the morning.” Well . . . why? Since it is really a great way to start your matabolism and get things in the body going it might be something that could be evaluated, instead of just saying, “I can’t”.


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