Try a magical story-telling experiment today. When you are saying “no” to a request, replace the word “can’t” with the word “won’t”.
I Can’t Stop Writing Books!
Using “won’t” automatically forces you to take full responsibility for every decision you make. It takes away your straw man, your imaginary “bad guy” who is to blame because he’s “making” you do it. Using “won’t” removes almost all vestiges of being a victim.
As in, instead of saying, “I can’t continue this relationship with you”, say “I won’t continue this relationship with you.”
Or, instead of saying, “I can’t help you move next weekend”, say “I won’t help you move next weekend.”
Because, well, yes, you can. If you choose to, you most certainly can. Unless there really is some person hidden behind the drapery who is forcing you to make certain decisions.
Yet, if you say “you won’t”? Well, no one can dispute that, can they? That’s your choice.
Hence, using “won’t” instead of “can’t” transforms your communication in a manner that both you and the recipient of your message will tangibly feel.
Are You Crazy? I Can’t Say “Won’t”!
If you’re like me, using “won’t” might feel risky and unnatural. And that feeling isn’t unexpected, after all, since you’re actually saying “I am the one who’s deciding not to do this” instead of your more subtle habit of “I’m not allowed to do this”.
Yet it will also allow you to form some new perspectives. And those new perspectives will have a positive impact on the better-feeling, believable stories you can tell.
In your communications – since you probably won’t want to say “won’t” unless you’re truly willing to take responsibility for things.
And in your responsibilities – since you, like me and everyone else, have probably grown accustomed to giving yourself the “easy out” of relying on that old, “bad guy” who just won’t let you do it. You know – “them”. “Those guys” who are preventing you from doing something you most certainly, otherwise, be happy to do for someone.
Say “won’t” instead of “can’t” for a while, though, and see just how empowered you feel. See how it makes you feel authoritative and more in control. In good ways; you’re taking control of the things you are in control of, after all.
It’s Much Healthier, For You and For Them, to Let Everyone Be Responsible For Their Own Attitudes and Feelings
And another very empowering thing this exercise does for you is it subtly removes your responsibility for some things you’re most definitely not in control of. Another person’s attitude. Why were we sometimes so careful to use “can’t” in the first place? Because we didn’t want to disappoint someone or let them down by telling them that, “Yes, indeed, I am deciding not to do this thing that you want me to.”
It is not only okay for you to make decisions like that, but you are also not responsible for someone else’s response to, nor their feelings about, that decision. This is a healthy perspective and promotes healthy boundaries in your relationships.
Let “won’t” replace “can’t” this week; you’ll discover multiple new perspectives that will help you tell new, better-feeling, healthier stories about your relationships. Especially your relationship with yourself.
And stay tuned to this website for more tips and techniques to use new paradigms from quantum physics to align your life with your dreams…