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"I can't" actually means "I won't" - Page 5

post #81 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyshoppinghabit View Post
The OP is meant as a jumping off point into awakening from conventional thinking. There are many jumping off points, some of them will not reverberate with you at this point in time and that's ok. If you are content with your life, then keep plugging along. Someday, somwhere, you will read something or hear something that clicks on a lightbulb in your head. Or not, that's ok too...only humanity will not go on b/c we are rapidly killing ourselves and our planet with the current mentality that we hold.
Conventional thinking is that you have to use your mind to solve a problem, that you have to look at the story of your life in a linear fashion and hang on to it forever, conventional thinking is trying to solve the problem while in the same mentality as when the problem began.
What's more, who is the "I" in "I can't" or "I won't"? Is it the real you or your mind, your ego (a construct of your mind)? YOU are not that story of you life, your ethnicity, your body even. The real you is Awareness, the consciousness that is aware of the world, without the story. We are all the same awareness, just different windows, like on a house. The mind poses problems in a way that hides what is the real block underneath: "I can't have children b/c I physically can't" "I want to desperatly be loved, but I can't find a man who will love me." "I can't get a job." Those are posed based on outside situations ("if X happens" then my life will turn around"). Those kinds of problems are signs to dig deeper. Don't just look at the problem the way your mind poses it. The mind is not your friend.

No one's problems are specifically their own. All of humanity shares every problem encountered by every other human.
If you think these ideas are elitist, I think it is elitist to think you know what is offensive to the "less elite" (for lack of another word). Many people in dire situations are not thinking on any level "I can't." They are doing amazing things w/their lives.
We are not all the same awareness. I have absolutely no awareness of you, or who you are, what your life has been like, how you became the person you are. Just as you have no awareness of me, or my life, or what makes me the person I am today. You have no sense of the ups and downs of my life or of the physical, or emotional, or mental limitations I have.

The 'I' in 'I can't' is the full me. I can't be an astronaut, I want to be but I just cannot because of a limitation that belongs to my physical being (well, two limitations, I'm also too tall to be an astronaut). It's an attribute of my physical self, but it affects all other parts of me. It, however, does not affect you because you are not the one who is legally blind, and that barely affects my own family. Strangers I encounter everyday will likely have no awareness of this limitation either because they can't see it, they don't experience it when I am there or not there, and they never bother to ask.

ETA: My mind is my friend because it allows me to function. Without my mind helping me, I would be stuck living with my parents incapable of caring for myself because my mind provides for me what my eyes can't. It provides a 'view' of my environment that comes from my previous experience. I can tell you where each and every piece of furniture in this house is, not just by room, but a very specific location in the room, because my mind has it all mapped out so I don't end up tripping over the couch and landing face first in the TV.
post #82 of 107
double post
post #83 of 107
I have been playing with slogans:

"you can't have everything" and "when people say can't they really mean "won't".

If you think the first one is true (and I do - time and resources are finite - you cannot have everything.....and on a human level, you will drive yourself batty trying to have it all) then it is impossible for the second to always be true. There must be some things you can't door the first saying "you can't have it all" is untrue.

I am talking in circles, lol.

I think balancing won't and can'ts in a way that is empowering to the individual (without judging others) is the goal in this area.
post #84 of 107
Bottom line, MSH: you are talking about your personal beliefs about the nature of reality in terms as though they are necessarily correct and that which contradicts them is necessarily incorrect. That it frustrates and irritates people is not their minds being too busy with their usual circumstances to be able to access answers to the challenges you pose. It frustrates and irritates people in exactly the same manner that aggressive ideological proselytization always frustrates and irritates people. Regardless of where you feel the origins of your particular beliefs lie, or whether or not you personally agree you have taken a proselytizing tone.
post #85 of 107
There are many things I cannot do. It's not because I won't, but I really cannot do them. No matter how much I may want to do them, it's simply not possible.
post #86 of 107
Hello!

I have removed some posts because they were in violation of the MDC User Agreement.
Quote:
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post #87 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
Bottom line, MSH: you are talking about your personal beliefs about the nature of reality in terms as though they are necessarily correct and that which contradicts them is necessarily incorrect. That it frustrates and irritates people is not their minds being too busy with their usual circumstances to be able to access answers to the challenges you pose. It frustrates and irritates people in exactly the same manner that aggressive ideological proselytization always frustrates and irritates people. Regardless of where you feel the origins of your particular beliefs lie, or whether or not you personally agree you have taken a proselytizing tone.
Yep. Exactly. I even agree to some extent that reframing things, giving myself agency and power over situations, etc. can be a positive thing and an effective way to approach challenging situations. However, there are limits to this approach and, even if someone believes there aren't, being preached to simply doesn't help convince the rest of us. Maybe envisioning that we will suddenly believe all this will help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonflyBlue View Post
There are many things I cannot do. It's not because I won't, but I really cannot do them. No matter how much I may want to do them, it's simply not possible.
I would like to be an NBA superstar. However, as a dumpy 5'3 39 year old, this *can't* happen!
post #88 of 107
While there are pieces of the philosophy that are true, the presentation is difficult. Telling others their obstacles are all in their mind because one's obstacles are all in one's own mind is where the philosophy reaces its limit.

I lived with someone for 7 years who had a chronic illness. I live in a crunchy area where more than once a week someone lovingly shared how the illness could be changed into a won't instead of a can't.

The most empowering thing I read at the time in a book for carers of the chronically ill which answered that, "Have you, yourself, cured yourself of this particular illness?" While I never actually said that to anyone, having it in my mind helped create a safer space around us when someone started helpfully telling me I was living my life all wrong. Because until you've lived with real, honest to goodness limitation (daily pain, soaking the sheets night sweats, blah blah blah), it's just not possible to understand.

Our fears and beliefs can limit us, sure. Learning to look past them, set goals, work toward those goals and believe in ourselves is a big piece of being a grown up. By the same token, accepting the cards we're dealt and living a life of joy in the face of them is also part of being a grown up.

Epiphanies are beautiful things. I hope OP accomplishes what she has set before herself if it's for her good and the good of others.

I was very grateful for the lesson that there are things I can change and things I can't.

The serenity prayer captures a part of that: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change those I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
post #89 of 107
Quote:
I feel like someone is about to start trying to sell me some tapes on late night tv.

I hear a lot of buzzwords and talk, but it's just talk. Saying something doesn't make it true.


Me too.

I agree that *sometimes* it's true. I agree with reframing, shifting perspective, etc. to some extent.

However, making it a rule, setting it cement, and hitting people over the head with it for not agreeing I can't get behind.
post #90 of 107
I've been on the "I won't" versus "I can't" discussion for over 20 years. (yeah, i'm an older mdc) . When I first learned of this approach so many years ago (let me think of what my hair looked like--yikes) I was pretty gungho on "I won't". I am much softer about it now but one thing I did take from it and still do, almost by rote--is often instead of using "I can't" . I will use other words, "I'm not up for it", "I don't see how I can do it", "I have a conflict so it won't work", and sometimes I just say, "no, not going to happen." For me there is something more empowering by using those phrases or the like than just "I can't." I rarely comment on anyone else using "I can't". Who knows what is going on with them? Of course if a friend is asking for help on some part of their life we will inevitably talk in and around the 'I can'ts and the I won'ts" but it is usually the way through to what is really going on.

I hear the passion, OP. But for me it really is too hard to know what is going on with each person and maybe there is value in "I can't" that we don't know.
post #91 of 107
OP ~ What you're saying sounds very similar to The Work. Would you please share what specific philosophy/methodology you are currently enthused by and drawing from so we can read more and better understand what is influencing you in this conversation?
post #92 of 107
This philosophy seems to be regularly repackaged and presented as some kind of great insight that will make us all happy.

But it is a nasty idea if you take it to it's logical conclusion. It says we all deserve what we get. It kills charity, and it kills community.
post #93 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
This philosophy seems to be regularly repackaged and presented as some kind of great insight that will make us all happy.

But it is a nasty idea if you take it to it's logical conclusion. It says we all deserve what we get. It kills charity, and it kills community.
I actually disagree, there are many people (however hardly here at MDC) who say, "I can't" to charitable endeavors all the time. Or community endeavors. If pushed on it and asked is it, "I can't" or "I won't"? imagine how their world would open up. To actually be there for someone else.

in terms of "logical conclusion" I don't see how there is a conclusion. It is more a process than a destination,at least in my mind.
post #94 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracy View Post
I actually disagree, there are many people (however hardly here at MDC) who say, "I can't" to charitable endeavors all the time. Or community endeavors. If pushed on it and asked is it, "I can't" or "I won't"? imagine how their world would open up.
I'm afraid that all I'm imagining is how obnoxious it would be for someone to push me and question my reasons when I've just told them that I can't do something for a charity or my community.
post #95 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
This philosophy seems to be regularly repackaged and presented as some kind of great insight that will make us all happy.

But it is a nasty idea if you take it to it's logical conclusion. It says we all deserve what we get. It kills charity, and it kills community.
post #96 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageMom6 View Post
I'm afraid that all I'm imagining is how obnoxious it would be for someone to push me and question my reasons when I've just told them that I can't do something for a charity or my community.
Thinking that too. It's no ones business if a family is having financial or other problems that prevent them form being able to do charity work or making donations and no one should have to defend themselves for saying no.
post #97 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by VillageMom6 View Post
I'm afraid that all I'm imagining is how obnoxious it would be for someone to push me and question my reasons when I've just told them that I can't do something for a charity or my community.
Gotcha. But what if the person questioning is not another person but you yourself? Remember Can't versus Won't is more of a philosophical process and more about internal drives.

And btw, this is a response to the comment that "Can't versus Won't" would kill charity. I don't believe that debate does such. But perhaps I'm wrong.
post #98 of 107
It sounds to me like a phrase/idea that's a good insight for those whose actual problem is feeling an exaggerated sense of their own powerlessness and helplessness. Or a lack of confidence in their ability to address and solve problems.

Where it falls apart, for me, is the claim that it's somehow useful universally. Some of my problems likely do fit this model - I choose not to keep a very clean house, for instance, and it's not that I can't, it's that I won't reorder my priorities to accomplish that goal. Some of my problems are in fact beyond my control - my husband has struggled with depression for years, and I can't fix that. I can't. I can encourage him to go to therapy, I can pay for his health insurance and medication, I can read about depression, etc. but I'm not in charge of his brain chemistry or his behavior. I can't fix his problem. Even though it affects my life in a variety of ways, and is a struggle for us as a family, I can't control or fix it.
post #99 of 107
i've reread the OP a few times, and read through the entire thread and still am kind of confused about the "epiphany", although i am glad it has been helpful for the OP.

yes, i think that there are always ways of reframing how we see what is going on in our lives. but i also don't think that things are just as simple as "i can't" and "i won't". life happens. stuff happens. and i think it's meant to be that way for whatever reason, regardless of whether or not we think we "can" or "can't".

eta: i get what the OP is saying in her post when you consider each element individually. i'm confused on how you put it together and how it relates to each other. considering yourself as "limitless" and as being connected to one another and how it relates to putting yourself as a priority is not clear.

it sounds like katie byron's work to me, just not explained as well as katie does.
post #100 of 107
Yes.

[QUOTE=mandib50;15633950]
life happens. stuff happens. and i think it's meant to be that way for whatever reason, regardless of whether or not we think we "can" or "can't".
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