Today has mostly been spent musing on the well meant advice “Tell yourself you have no stamina and you’ll have no stamina.”
Which is true, you know. If you tell yourself you can’t do something you’re highly unlikely to succeed at it.
But the thing is, telling yourself you *can* do something isn’t any kind of guarantee. And telling a fish that if they tell themselves they can’t walk then they’ll never be able to walk isn’t really very helpful to the fish… even if it *can* understand spoken english.
All my life I’ve been told I can do anything I want to do. And I have. I’ve done well at school. I’ve studied and graduated with honours in a massively male-dominated area (Engineering). I’ve gone from one hobby to another, and I’ve loved them all. I can fence, do judo, kayak, sew, knit, sculpt, ski, make chainmail, build a shelter, mix cement, carve wood, make clothes, make candles, forage food in the wild, hike across mountains, cut hair, work metal, speak fluent Irish, speak passable Spanish, make myself understood in French, and in Swedish, and in Irish sign language, paint, put up shelves, unblock drains, fix boilers, start campfires, put up tents, tie knots, build rafts, abseil, rock climb, tree climb, spin wool, cook, calm down a mob, talk down a criminal, comfort a friend, talk a stranger out of suicide, run an international fencing competition, write stories, tell stories in public, sing, write songs, take soil samples, care for a dog, care for a cat, tame a wild bird (without capture), paint a room, install a cooker, put out a fire, handle myself in an emergency, stand up for my beliefs, deal with bullying without becoming a bully, accept apologies from bullies years later and become good friends…
I have ridden horses, I have flown a plane, I have helped build a railway bridge, I’ve fed wild herons from my hand, I’ve owned my own business.
Sometimes, I say I can’t do something. I say my health is too bad, or my anxiety is too high.
I don’t mean I don’t believe I can do it.
I mean that I’ve considered my choices, what it would achieve, what I’d have to sacrifice, and I’ve chosen not to do it.
In the last year my health has been better than it has been for over a decade. Other than my chronic illnesses, I have had very few complaints. I’ve not had the permanent colds and coughs and stomach upsets that have plagued me for most of my adult life. And any time I *have* been ill it’s been from a clear source. More often than not that source has been over-exertion.
When I say I can’t do something, I mean that I choose not to pay what it would cost me.
And if the fact that I choose not to pay in pain for something upsets you, then so be it, but I’d rather that than another homily about how I’m setting my own limits. I’m not setting them. I’m respecting them.
I’m respecting *ME*.