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Daily Inspiration

If you shut down your feelings to avoid pain, how can you know what is right or wrong for you? Spirit often speaks to us through our feelings, so when you protect against pain rather than open to learning about what your feelings are telling you, you are shutting out the very guidance you need to feel safe.

By Dr. Margaret Paul


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"I Can't Do It"

By Dr. Margaret Paul
June 07, 2011



Does your internal dialogue of "I can't" and your fear of failure stop you from doing what you really want to do?



"He can who thinks he can, and he can't who thinks he can't. This is an indisputable law." - Henry Ford

Have you ever noticed how often you say, "I can't"?

"I can't lose weight."
"I can't find my soul mate."
"I can't find a job I love."
"I can't take care of myself."
"I can't heal this shame."
"I can't get myself to exercise."
"I can't find my passion."

When I was little, one of my favorite books was "The Little Engine that Could." For those of you who don't know this children's book, it's about a little train engine who was given the job of pulling a very big load up a hill. As it was pulling the load, it kept saying, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." And, of course, it did.

As a three-year old, this little book impressed me very much. I memorized it and read it over and over. I integrated "I think I can," into my thought process, and every time I was challenged, I would say "I think I can," to myself. Like the little engine who could, I never gave up on something that really mattered to me. Fortunately, "I can't" didn't become a part of my language.

With many of my clients, it's a different story. "I can't" seems to be deeply entrenched into their language. In the work I do, I help people learn how to heal their shame, how to take emotional responsibility by learning to be loving to themselves and others, and how to connect with a personal source of spiritual Guidance. Very often, my clients say things like, "I can't take care of myself. I don’t know how." "I can't connect with my spiritual Guidance. I'm not capable of this." "I can't remember to be present with my feelings." "I can't speak up for myself - it's too hard." And, as Henry Ford states in the above quote, as long as they choose to believe this, they can't. They prove themselves right every time.

I wonder if you would be willing to try an experiment. What might happen if, every time you hear yourself say "I can't" you consciously turn it around and say, "I can!" If you did this often enough, you would change your way of thinking, and in changing your thinking, you can change the outcome of your efforts.

Fortunately, another thing I learned very early in my life is that it's okay to fail. To me failure only means that I need to try harder and learn more. Failure never means that I am stupid or incapable. While I've had plenty of failure in my life, it never stopped me from saying "I think I can," which is what enables me to keep going until I succeed.

From 1998 until 2010, I worked on creating a major software program, called SelfQuest. During these 12 years I had many failures and disappointments, but never once did it occur to me that I would not succeed in creating the program of my vision. It was vitally important to me to create this program that I knew would be a huge help to others, and I knew that nothing would stop me. Even when the programmer disappeared with all the work, I knew in my soul that it would all work out. And it did. After finding an incredible new programmer, the original programmer resurfaced and gave us everything we needed to complete it.

No one succeeds without failures, and no one succeeds by saying "I can't". I suggest that you read "The Little Engine that Could" and integrate this into your mindset!


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