A good story to tell

“I just can’t,” said Allie. “There’s no way I have the skills to do it. Why frustrate myself trying?” Her determined expression seconded her defeatist words.

If you replaced Allie’s name with yours, could you hear yourself saying the same thing?

If you can, please read on!

Can’t is a wickedly powerful word. It’s a limiting and telling word. Using can’t—and believing it—speaks volumes about our confidence, resilience, and the stories we tell ourselves.

If we have confidence in ourselves, we believe we have—or can acquire—the knowledge, skills, and/or abilities to give whatever “it” is a go.

Confidence makes us resilient. If our first efforts fall short, we take a lesson from where we went wrong and try again. There’s no giving up or quitting before we ever start.

When we act with confidence and resilience, we tell ourselves positive stories about what we’re capable of doing and how we’ll react to what happens around us. We welcome the gift of possibility and the surprises of the unknown.

The world-wide COVID-19 pandemic has upended many aspects of our lives. That reality opens doors of possibility, provided we’re willing to see them and take a chance by giving “it” a try.

Before the pandemic, style took too much priority over substance. I’d shake my head in dismay at the amount of time friends spent on social media. Instagram and other outlets like it were awash with pictures of people working hard to influence others to look a certain way, use a specific fashion or beauty product, promote the “in” image, etc. People exhausted themselves with their I can do that style-focused work to fit in and not miss out.

COVID-19 has made it a challenge to be stylishly photo-ready. The hair is too long to lay right. Perhaps the roots are a different color. Nails aren’t gelled and shaped to perfection and maybe skin isn’t as radiant. All of which fuel an endless list of I can’ts.

To which I suggest we respond, so what?!

Now’s the perfect time to tell ourselves, and the world, I can.

I can be confident. I can be resilient. I can be a person of character who puts substance before style. I can be (and am!) smart, kind, witty, and empathetic despite split ends, misshapen nails, and multi-hued hair.

I can give myself permission to miss out, to take a stand, to try something new.

I can look at uncertainty and see the possibility of what can be. I can move from my place in the margin and champion the return of substance over style.

That’s a good story to tell, don’t you think? Ready to give it a go?

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