All throughout my life there have been things I claimed I could (or would) NEVER do. And when I said NEVER, I meant it in the most sure and certain way possible, accompanied by a real (or implied) stamp of the foot for emphasis.
- I would NEVER have a cat as a pet, because I’m not a cat person.
- I could NEVER live alone, because I have to have company at all times.
- I could NEVER leave Victoria or live away from the ocean, because it’s my home.
- I would NEVER work from home, because I don’t have enough self-discipline and I’d get bored.
It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t believe I was capable of doing these things… more that for whatever reason I felt the need to firmly define, beyond all possible shadow of a doubt, Who I Am and What I Do (or don’t do, as the case may be), forever and ever, amen.
Perhaps you can relate?
I’m not sure why I tend to lean this way – maybe it’s a fear of the unknown? Perhaps I feel the need to build some sort of platform on which to base my self-image? I don’t know, but this is one lesson that keeps being thrown my way again and again, and yet somehow I fail to learn it completely.
Never say never.
Of course, there are times when it’s good to have that definition – in terms of personal ethics, for example, or your own rules for how you will treat others. When it comes to character, it’s valuable to be sure and certain and unwavering.
But when it comes to those other areas and decisions in life, why do we feel the need to draw such distinct lines, create such solid boundaries?
I have discovered that whenever I challenge myself to think beyond the stifling walls I’ve built around my life and consider the alternative, even if only for a moment, life becomes undeniably richer. And the funny thing is that I’ve ended up doing many of the things I thought I could (or would) NEVER do, with no regrets (beyond, in some cases, wishing I’d done them sooner)!
- Guess what? I AM a cat person! I first enjoyed living with Spider (AKA the sweetest cat ever) for more than 20 years, and these days am delighted daily by the antics of the three new feline friends we’ve included in our little family.
- I actually lived on my own for several years, and, as it turned out, quite enjoyed the privacy and freedom of not having to deal with roommates.
- I found that I was able to leave my home, and the ocean, and start to build a new life in a far-off city with a beautiful riverfront and great walking paths just a block away from my new house.
- I now work from home, and, surprisingly enough, find that I DO have the required self-discipline and don’t get bored (at least no more so than I ever did at the office!).
Looking at that list, I’m starting to wonder where I’m still saying NEVER in other areas of my life, and how my world might change if I were to expand my own self-defined horizons.
Food for thought…
Does NEVER limit you?
How do you challenge yourself to think beyond the boundaries?
(Originally posted in February, 2012.)