When my son Joey was sick with cancer and after his death, women I both knew and didn’t know would say to me all the time, “I don’t know how you do it. I could never do what you’re doing.”
It was incomprehensible to me that a parent would think she couldn’t be strong for her dying child. As horrible as it is to think about, I believed that any parent could do the same things for her child as I did for mine, including holding him as he took his dying breath.
So I would say, “If I could do it, you could do it, too.”
I actually cringe when other women use that phrase. Usually it’s about something like meal planning, adopting a new diet or exercise routine, working full time or going back to school, running a race or taking on some other big adventure.
We look at our friends and say, “I don’t know how you do it. I could never do that.”
And because they are currently doing “it,” they say, “Oh, I if can do it, so can you.”
I personally am THE QUEEN of “I could never do that.” I have almost zero confidence in myself. I thought as I got older that would get better; and it has with every small success I enjoy. But, it doesn’t erase years of thinking that I am worthless. That I am worth less than every other woman I see who exudes beauty, brains, confidence, personality, and success.
This type of thinking is paralyzing. It holds a person still rather than propels her forward. It prevents her from trying things because she is afraid to fail. She is afraid to be less and do less than her friend who is already rocking it.
Some people have competitive personalities. They were born ready to take on the world. Others are happy to observe. Some people desire change, while others are comfortable with the status quo. Some seek thrills and dive right in, while others sit on the edge with their toes barely testing the waters.
Some women suffer from depression or anxiety, or they have phobias and past experiences that make it difficult to move ahead. Other women take everything in stride as just part of another day.
Some of us have amazing support systems and happy, easy lives. Others of us struggle to complete even routine tasks because we have no one on our side and everything working against us.
Some of us see the silver lining in every situation, while some of us feel defeated even before the day begins.
In short, we all have different personalities. To say to another woman, “If I can do it, so can you,” doesn’t take this into account.
I am not you; I am me.
Unfortunately, I am also a me who says, “I could never do what she’s doing.”
Ladies, we need to stop saying these two phrases.
Instead of saying you could never do something, how about saying:
- Do I want to do what she’s doing?
- It might be hard, but I think I can if I try.
- Here are the steps I need to take to meet that goal.
- It’s okay if I don’t succeed. I can try again another time. I’m still a pretty awesome person.
Instead of telling a friend she can do something because you did, how about saying:
- Let me tell you about the steps that helped me reach that goal.
- I’ll do it with you. It’s more fun if we both do it together.
- I’ll be here to support you all the way.
- That’s so awesome you want to try. I can’t wait to hear all about it.
The bottom line is that we ALL can do amazing things. But your amazing things might not be my amazing things, and they don’t have to be.
When we stop comparing ourselves to everyone else, it’s easier to find OUR OWN amazing and rock it because we CAN.
Featured image: hyenareality for freedigitalphotos.net