It’s nice to have friends. It’s especially nice to have friends like Lauri and Anne — the kind of friends who drop by for tea and bring great ideas. Oh, and cookies. We cannot overlook the importance of cookies.
We sat the other day, sipping, munching thoughtfully, until Anne piped up with: “OK, so we were talking about something in the car on the way over and wanted to hear what you think.”
I was actually thinking that the cookies were really good. But I’m often able to stretch my brain just a bit. “Uhmrrgh,” I responded, through cookie crumbles, which means, “Bring it on.”
“Ever notice how often we say ‘I’m not’ and how infrequently we say ‘I am’?” Anne asked.
I was struck speechless by the simplicity of Anne’s point.
Boy, we spend so much time thinking about what we’re not.
Coming from “I’m not” is coming from a lack, or a deficit. “I’m not” means not enough — not tall enough, not thin enough, not young enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, not anything enough.
“I’m not” keeps us in a continual state of stress, feeling like we haven’t/can’t/won’t get it all done. And we won’t. Because we’re not enough.
But if we could shift all those “I’m nots” to “I ams”… think of the difference. Owning your own strengths. Standing in your own power. Relying on what you’ve got, rather than what you haven’t.
“I am”… good at taking care of my aging parents. “I am” … a good mentor. “I am” … a good friend. “I am” … alive.
Recently I taught a teleclass to a group of students and heard myself saying, “I’m pretty good at networking.” And I caught myself, internally, doing a self-check: was I bragging? Didn’t Mama say, “Don’t get too big for your britches. You’re no better than anyone else?”
She sure did. But it didn’t feel like bragging. It felt like truth. And, guess what? It is.
Make a list of your “I ams”. Own your “I ams”. Treasure them. They’re your truths. They’re what makes you, you.
And every time you find yourself stuck in “I’m not”, turn it around and say a quick “I am”. Such as, “OK, I’m not a 25 year old supermodel with more money than sense and no responsibilities, but I am…“
Go ahead — fill in your own blank.