If You Can

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If you can, then you should.

If you should, then you must.

If you must, then you can.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and had the above thought. It seemed absolutely brilliant at the time. Often such things do. I repeated it to myself several times so that I would remember it come the morning.  My first thought upon revisiting the memory was “hunh?”

It looks circular and nonsensical upon first reading it. And it is circular but, in reality, not nonsensical. The beauty of it is that it is circular. Let me explain. I hope that I can.

There are a lot of things a person simply can’t do. But there are also a lot of things a person can do. Some are easier than others. I not saying one should always do the difficult things. I’m all for building character, but too much struggling can break a person down.

There are easy things you can do. You can smile and wave at a stranger. You can say hello to your neighbors. You can hold a door for an elderly or encumbered person (yes I know that social distancing might make that a little harder right now … it’s just an example, okay). You can help a fellow driver ease into a traffic lane. There are countless little things you can do in a day.

If there is something you can do, you should do it. Later on when the coulda-shoulda-woulda blues hit you, you’ll wonder why you didn’t. Regrets are some of the hardest things to deal with. Limiting the number of regrets that you have in your life can only help.

Duty. That’s sometimes been an ugly word for me. In the past, I’ve often been at war with myself over what I should do and what I want to do. But if I find myself repeatedly thinking there is a thing that I should do, then I figure I must do it; if only to get it off of my mind.

But beyond that, there is usually the satisfaction of having done something that really needed doing.

It is never good to be at war with yourself for long. Conflict is debilitating whether it is self-generated or comes from outside sources.

So if there is something that you should do (for me going to the dentist is a good example, the dentist terrifies me), then you must do it. Ultimately it will make your life easier. I believe that. I’ve experienced that.

That brings me to: If you must, then you can.

My dad told me when I was very young that I could do anything I set my mind to. He told me this on so many occasions that it became a part of my psyche. I’ve accomplished a lot of things I never thought I would simply because I decided that I would … and that I could. When that horse nearly killed me on the spot and I thought I might actually die, I decided that I had to live for my husband’s sake. When I survived but was so broken that I thought I would never be fit again, I decided that was not an option. I got fit and I got healthy. I set my mind to it and I did it.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I think that could be an extension of “if you must, then you can.” It says that when there is a need, you will be equal to that need. It says that if there is something that you simply must do, you will find a way to do it. You can do it.

Our times are, to one extent or another, always trying. Some times are a little more so. Like right now. But I think I will keep those three little sentences in mind and by doing so I will be able to find a little more comfort and grace in my life.

I offer them up as a bit of positive thinking for all of you:

If you can, then you should.

If you should, then you must.

If you must, then you can.

Marilyn Monroe Quotes. Positive Motivational and Inspirational Quotes
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Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

4 thoughts on “If You Can

  1. Okay. See me laughing a bit. But not at you. I just turned 68 years old and the short answer to your question is that living life helps me to come up with such things. I don’t have a lock on any kind of wisdom really. And I only know what works for me. Nevertheless, I am happy that you found something in it that you could use and had meaning for you. Thanks for commenting!

    Liked by 1 person

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