For the month of February I am exploring my experiences with selective mutism. Yesterday I shared an info graphic I created to help raise awareness of sm. Today, I have been inspired by my partner, Simon, to talk about the limitations that we place on ourselves as people because of what we think we can and can’t do.
I would if I could …
For about eight years (maybe more) Simon has been wanting to do something a little different in his life. He has been a tiler for about ten years. Before that he worked as a skydiver, a commercial diver, a builder of earth and straw bale houses and various other ‘different’ jobs. Physically, his limitations are few. Creatively, his limitations are few. If he wants to make something, it is done. If he needs to talk to someone, he will.
If he needs to email someone, he can’t. I do it for him.
When I was young, I was taught that “there’s no such word as can’t!” – and apparently they were right, because there’s a blue line appearing under the word as I type it.
… but I can’t!
This morning, we were talking about what else he might be able to do, and he realised something important. He limits what he will imagine he could do by the potential for having to write emails or type anything as a part of that role. Not only that, but he won’t even explore the possibility if he thinks e-mailing might be involved.
I think we’ll agree, that there are a lot of roles and opportunities out there that involve emails.
Just as there are a lot of roles and opportunities out there that involve talking.
Simon was limiting himself and his potential because he doesn’t believe he can spell.
I have placed many limitations on myself because I don’t believe I can speak with clarity. I also find it incredibly difficult to initiate conversations with people, and to pick up the phone and call somebody.
We need limitations
I believe that our limitations are there for a reason (and it’s not just to frustrate the you-know-what out of us!)
Can you imagine how boring life would be without challenges to overcome. Sure, for a while it would be SUPER fun – and we’d just do whatever we felt like doing. But everything would be easy. Everything would just fall into place. There would be no sense of accomplishment or achievement. There would just be a long list of things you can do – and everyone else can do too.
Challenges make life interesting. Limitations give us something to work towards; they help us to create goals and develop that wonderful sense of achievement when we reach those goals. And by stretching ourselves, we change our limitations. We become more than we were before, and we feel that sense of expansion and growth because of it.
Sure, they are annoying – but limitations have their purpose just like everything else.
Without my limitations surrounding speaking, I would not have such a strong desire to speak out now – or to share my message. I wouldn’t have experienced selective mutism, and there would be much less motivation for me to inspire others who suffer or who have done. My previous limitations served a purpose – and my current limitations are giving me further inspiration to grow into.
Let’s dream a little
Every now and then, I give myself permission to imagine what I would be doing without my current set of limitations.
Immediately, my mind goes off in all kinds of exciting directions. I am able to imagine what I might be able to achieve if I wasn’t limiting myself so much through my beliefs about what I can and can’t achieve. I believe, while I am inside of my vision, that I can do anything. I feel invincible and unstoppable – it really feels amazing!
Unfortuately, at some point I come down from my creative day-dreams, and realise that I am still here; stuck inside of my limitations. At first, it is always frustrating. I LONG to be able to go and do all those incredible things. Then I realise that I could do them, if only I’d cast my limitations aside.
Of course, it’s rarely that easy, and so I take baby steps.
It has taken me many years to work toward this blog. In 2007, I first imagined it. In 2015, it finally looks a little like that vision. I’ve had many failed attempts along the way – but I have got there! I believe with patience, persistence and baby steps I will get there with all my other dreams too.
Simon is planning to move past his limitations too – as he looks for ways to work with his dyslexia instead of pushing it away.
If you like this post, please comment below to let me know where your limitations are, and share your dream goal too. There’s nothing like putting something in writing to help you move closer toward it!