We all have them…the times we feel so stressed we start to think “I can’t…”

I can’t do this.  I can’t be a good parent AND a teacher.  I’m either one or the other, but never both at the same time.  I can’t fight anymore (though I often don’t know what exactly I’m fighting). I can’t make time for me.  There is no time.  I can’t ask for help. I have to do this on my own. I can’t save money. Something else always comes up that I have to pay.  I can’t date again.  People can’t be trusted to keep their word.  I can’t work out. There’s no time for that.  I can’t…I can’t…I can’t…

I’ve had all of these thoughts and more.  Every. Single. One.  And you know what?  These thoughts have exacerbated my stress.

My dad used to say, “Get rid of ‘I can’t.'”  He comes from the old-school where a man is as good as his word.  Well…if my word is “I can’t,” what does that make me?  It’s taking a lot of years (present tense because I’m still working on this), and counseling, and finding my people, and taking risks to found out that I can.

I can be a good parent and a good teacher–my daugher and students are evidence of this.  I can take life a day (and sometimes a minute) at a time and face what comes my way.  I can ask for help (and people are glad to do it on occasion) and I can take classes to learn more about the things that frustrate me so that they become more managable.  I can live on a budget where my daughet and I find pleasure in the simple things.  I can date again (and find that there is a man who keeps his word and cares for his kids and others around him as much as I do).  I can make time to be healthy with my daughter (by walking to the park…swimming when I can…doing dance workouts with her).  I can make time to do the things I enjoy…like crafting…making necklaces… painting… quilting… cooking… yoga.

When I change my mantra from “I can’t” to “I can,” and I accept that it’s not all going to happen RIGHT NOW…life becomes easier and more enjoyable.  I can breathe…and find joy in that breath.  I can appreciate the world around me.  And, most of all, I can find peace and balance in my life…even in the stressful times.