Can’t Do vs. Can Do: Changing My Attitude For the Better

For most of my chronic life, I focused on everything I couldn’t do.  My physical limitations won’t let me do this or I can’t do that or I will increase my pain.  Over time my list of” can’t dos” grew so large that I couldn’t see around it. 

Can't do attitude

Every day my body reminds me of what I can’t do, but then again so does my mind.  It never fails, whenever part of my body fails me, my mind goes into overdrive and reminds me of more things I am no longer able to do.  The problem with this is that the more I concentrate on what I can’t do, the less I am able to find solutions or alternative ways to do something.  The minute I say I can’t do something, I close my mind and become unable to see past the task I want to tackle.  My “can’t do” attitude also deepened my depression and anger.  I was angry with my body, I was angry with myself; this anger blackened my eyes and kept me from living.

Can do attitude

A few years ago, I stopped counting my “can’t dos” and started acknowledging what I could do. Listing the things I can do also helps me find solutions for some of my “can’t dos”.  Focusing what I can do has improved my emotional state.  Who doesn’t like realizing that they can do something?  So what if I can’t raise money for a cause by running a marathon, I can help by supporting someone else and getting others to contribute.  I may not be able to walk all day at Disneyland, but I can have just as much fun if I use a mobility aid.

Healthy balance

It is important that I acknowledge and accept both my “can’t dos” and “can dos” and not just one or the other.  I need to know what I can’t do so that I don’t injure myself or end up in bed for the next 6 months.  Reminding myself of my “can dos” not only reminds me that I am not useless, but it also provides solutions or ideas that often turn a “can’t do” into a “can do”. 

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