Don’t Tell Me “I Can’t”

I realized something about myself today. (Frankly, I kind of enjoy the fact that even at 31 years old, I can surprise myself.) I realized that I have no tolerance for people who say they can’t do something, that something is too hard or impossible. Now, this realization was not really the surprising part. I think I’ve always known I feel that way, even though I never really thought it through before.

What was surprising to me, however, that I was able to quickly pinpoint *why* I feel that way.

I grew up with two blind parents (my father has since passed away, but my mother is still around to support, encourage, and generally harass me). I am sure that there were many, *many* times in their lives when they were told they couldn’t, or shouldn’t do things because of their lack of vision. I’m also sure there were times that they felt like there were things they were incapable of doing. I never saw those feelings, though. All I saw was a determination to get things done, to find other ways of doing things.

My father was the first blind employee at his company, a real trailblazer. He worked with technology (such as it was, starting in the late 70s, and on to his death in the late 90s), and he needed adaptive devices to get his job done, but get it done he did. Some things may have taken him longer, and he may have needed to find new ways of doing things, but he buckled down and did it.

My mother, among other things, was a blind stay-at-home-mom, raising a sighted child. I know for a fact that there were people who thought she had no business having a child, much less raising a child on her own with her blind husband, but raise me they did. Did she do things differently?Find new ways of doing things? Sure she did. But really, don’t we all?

So when I hear people tell me they “can’t” do something, it ticks me off. I have no tolerance for it at all. All my life, I have seen examples of people who “shouldn’t” be able to do things, but do them anyway. And now even with my own son, who has many things of his own he “can’t” do, I don’t give up hope that he *will* do them eventually, just at a different pace or in a different way. So, if I seem frustrated when someone tells me they “can’t,” that’s why. I’m just not buying it, because I know people who *should* be able to say they “can’t,” but instead decide to find ways that they *can.*

2 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Me “I Can’t”

  1. Very interesting. I also enjoy learning new things about myself.

    I’m glad you included the part at the end about how some things do take time to figure out. It’s entirely possible that someone can’t do something right this moment… but that doesn’t mean that they won’t ever be able to do it. Not being ready yet is not the same as simply being unable.


  2. I’m good with “I can’t yet.” Otherwise what would the point of learning be?

    It’s just the “I can’t, and I won’t ever be able to” that rubs me the wrong way.

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