“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
~ Vincent Van Gogh
Many years ago a wise counsellor challenged me to replace the words ‘I can’t’ with ‘I choose not to’. I was, at the time, feeling defeated and overwhelmed with grief; carrying guilt so heavy I could barely move, bearing sole responsibility for . . . well, everything.
The simple act of changing my inner dialogue helped me move forward. It helped me begin to feel strong again. It helped me to believe that I could change the trajectory of my life, and that my future could be so much different than my past.
That young woman who decided to choose rather than give up had trouble envisioning a healthy future. She couldn’t imagine where she would end up twenty-three years later–where I am today–but she began to see a way out of the darkness as a spark of hope ignited.
She made mistakes, to be sure, but she also did many things right. She had a lot of work ahead of her, but she learned that she was up for the challenge as she began to put one foot in front of the other and choose a different path.
God’s grace and empowering, a tenacity (even a stubbornness) to seek after something different, wise and caring people who came alongside, and choosing to silence the voice that said ‘I can’t’. These things carried me.
They still do.