“You’re only limited by how many years you have on this earth.”  I overheard someone say this recently and it truly gob-smacked me. It shouldn’t have; it’s a very reasonable and logical statement.

          Have you ever heard something a million ways and then have it completely sink in the minute you hear it spoken slightly different? Well, this is how I felt when I realized the power of this simple statement.

          During my lifetime, not many of the limitations I’ve experienced were placed on me by someone else. Even when I state I’m going to do something completely outrageous, whomever I’m talking to just smiles. They never say, “Oh, no you can’t!” I often listen to myself say – either out loud or in my head – I can’t do, create, feel, explain, be counted on, share or provide something because of a myriad of reasons. I am an expert at reasons why I can’t.

      Of course, there are “real” limits that we face in life. No matter how hard we try, waving our arms will not enable us to fly. But take a minute to think about the limitations you are currently facing in life, and evaluate how many of them are “real” limits, and how many are self-imposed.

          Limitations come out of voices….voices of our parents or teachers or others in authority saying we can’t. Limitations also come out of experience ….experiences of not succeeding. I failed once, I’ll fail again. Limitations can be enemies to your inner free spirit. Who would consciously choose to do that?

          A friend of mine says when she finds herself saying “I can’t,” she changes her thoughts to “I don’t know how to do this today, but, if I apply myself, I will learn.” Changing the mindset can make all the difference. Henry Ford once said that “If you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

          Are there areas of your life where you are limiting all that you can be?

P.S. I would be remiss if I didn’t include a sentence or two about positive limitations. These are the kind of limitations that include things like only accessing my e-mail once a day or limiting spending to things really needed or limiting exposure to negative people and things in life. Obviously, these are not the kind of limitations that undercut our diligence or our creativity or our desire to do the best for ourselves and others. 

Contact Antonia at Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com