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”. 

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.