I spent 38 years of my life telling myself there is no way in the universe I could ever do a “real push up.”
Yeah, ok, so I’ve done some with the knees bent and no shame in that game; that still requires mega arm strength.
But I basically resigned myself to the fact that I’d never in a million years be able to do the ones with my legs out.
There was NO PHYSICAL WAY this girl was ever doing one of those things.
Either I wasn’t built to do them or strong enough or who knows what.
I only know I told myself I couldn’t.
But friends, I have news:
I CAN DO A PUSHUP!!!!
Actually, I can do 10 in a row.
I’m not saying they’re all pretty or that I’m doing crazy hand claps in between each one or that I look like The Rock, but, I can do them… even though I spent nearly four decades telling myself I’d never, ever do one.
This little milestone and reality started me thinking far beyond push ups.
I lied to myself.
I made myself believe that a lie was the truth.
I told myself I was incapable of something and believed it so deep in my core that I made it fact.
Again, I get this is just a push up but…
Why do we tell ourselves that we can’t do something before we have exhausted every option?
Had I tried daily to do a push up?
Had I tried doing shoulder, arm and core exercises to strengthen the muscles required to make this push up happen?
Meh, not really.
Ha, so basically I didn’t really try at all.
But I told myself no. No Alyson, you can’t do that.
Do you have any situations in your life big or small that you’ve psyched yourself out of and were convincing enough that you believed it with every ounce of your being?
What is your internal dialogue every day?
Hundreds of times per day (maybe thousands), you make decisions all day long and you always have two choices.
Ever consider that? Every action you make is based on a choice you made.
So is that choice based on a real fact, or based on a belief you have told yourself is a fact?
In another silly example, I told myself for years that I was incapable of ever creating beachy waves in my hair.
I kind of terrible when it comes to hair and makeup stuff, I think largely because I’m too impatient to spend 20+ minutes to create two smoky eyes I’ll basically wash off within a few hours.
That said, I was dying for beachy waves more regularly, without spending $40 a pop to go to a pro.
So, truth: I made it my 2016 resolution to learn.
I watched a few YouTube videos and taught myself.
What a sweet victory… if only for my wavy head!
In college I thought I was a super average writer.
I became a PR major after my financial accounting grade was going to be so bad in business school the advisers literally suggested a major change.
I never, ever went to college thinking I’d eventually communicate for a living!
If I had let my own limiting beliefs get in my way, you likely wouldn’t be reading this and my life would honestly be vastly different.
Sure, you’ll likely notice my grammar isn’t the best.
But who cares; I LOVE to write. It’s my creative outlet. It fuels me, it brings me joy, it enables me to connect with you.
It has empowered women to start new careers and to pursue passions, to feel less alone in the world, or to know that someone else gets her.
So sure, I got a C- in technical writing in college.
I’ll always remember that the word is toward and not towards (that S on the end kills me!).
And, I kept writing despite what others said, and despite what I even told myself for even a minute too long.
So I don’t write like a traditional pro and I write more like I speak; I’m OK with that.
Once I stopped limiting myself with my own thoughts, I found my joy. Imagine what you can find.
So I couldn’t do a push up.
I kept trying. And I eventually did one, and then another.
Believe in yourself more than anyone else.
Maybe there’s something you’ve told yourself you couldn’t do.
But… what if? What if you really can?
Join the Conversation
KimberlyJanuary 24, 2019 at 7:41 AM
Absolutely loved this post & the message – I am guilty of believing those lies too when I really just need to be brave enough to TRY instead of deciding in advance that the risk of failure isn’t worth the effort.
CelinaJanuary 25, 2019 at 10:20 AM
we are our own worst critics… and our own doubts hold us back more than anyone else telling us we can’t do something. Great job on persisting and proving the naughty voice in your head that she is wrong!