Have you ever been 100% convinced that you couldn’t do something, only to find out that you were 100% wrong?
The other day I took the day off from work and spent the morning practicing yoga with a friend. We came in with a semi-plan (we were headed towards going upside down), but mostly we were just freestyling. I’d suggest a movement that my body was craving, then she would do the same. Back and forth we went, easing our way into the shoulders, wrists, spine, hips, and core.
While bringing awareness to our core strength by playing with the movement from up dog, through plank, back to down dog, I found myself saying: “I’ll never be able to roll over my toes, but I’ve totally come to terms with that fact.” The words came out of my mouth in a practiced “I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again” sort of way. I considered it a factual statement: I’m never going to do that. No biggie. Period.
Of course, as soon as the words came out of my mouth, my friend’s ears perked up. “Oh yeah, why is that?” she asked nonchalantly, as if she wasn’t questioning a belief about my very being. Feeling a little defensive, but not sure why, I immediately launched into a long-winded explanation:
See, I had surgery on my toes when I was younger and I don’t have much range of motion now, I told her. And I proceeded to show off my surgery scars and my inability to flex my toes, and demonstrated the fact that I can barely do a toe squat… [which consequently has nothing whatsoever to do with the movement in question here.] My toes just aren’t going to want to cooperate with this transition, I said. I know it and accept it because what else can I do, I asked?
My friend patiently let me go on and on this way for several minutes. Yet the longer I talked, the more hallow my laundry list of excuses started to sound. I mean, why was I trying so hard to convince us that I couldn’t do this movement?
So I paused.
And turned to my friend and tentatively admitted: “now that I’m really thinking about it, I actually haven’t tried this movement in a while……. so I guess its possible that I could be wrong about my ability to do it?”
(You know exactly where this is headed.)
I WAS WRONG.
100% wrong. Like I could not have been more wrong if I had tried. The first time I tried to roll over my toes with the intention of actually doing it, I rolled right over as if I’d been practicing that maneuver for years. And to add insult to injury — it felt easy. Heck, it even felt like a good stretch for my sometimes troublesome toes.
It’s awesome to be wrong.
Being wrong is liberating. Mind blowing. It calls into question all sorts of other beliefs. All of a sudden, any phrase that starts with “I can’t…” becomes suspect. If you were wrong about one thing, you could be wrong about other things! Beliefs that were once fixed, become a bit more malleable. The possibilities widen:
Maybe you can do that yoga pose.
Maybe you can tackle that project you’ve been dreading.
Maybe you can enjoy something you used to dislike.
Maybe you can try something new.
Maybe you can….