allergic to.

“I’m allergic to a lot of things.”

As an academic writing instructor, I’d whip out the red pen and slash that sentence into pieces…like so (this part is for writers…other-artists and non-writers, hang with me for just a second)…

I’m (Who is “I”? Avoid personal pronouns. Write out contractions: I am)
allergic to (What do you mean by “allergic to”? What happens? The reader wants to know, so follow this up with an explanation.)
a lot (How much is “a lot”? Quantify.)
of things. (What are “things”? Specify.)

But this isn’t about academics.

And it’s not about food…
(although I’m allergic to way too many foods, and the hives on my arms this morning got me thinking about writing this post…).

Or about medicine…
(although I’m allergic to four meds that bring pretty severe consequences, as in cutting off my breathing…).

Or about pesticides…
(though I can’t eat non-organic food because, yes, I break out in hives, too, along with a bunch of other uncomfortable symptoms that feel as if someone punched me in the stomach…).

Now that you have horrid images and feelings, transfer that icky-ew to what I’m really allergic to. Because I feel the same about these.

1. “I can’t.”
Who says you can’t? Who says either of us can’t? Too many of us don’t believe in ourselves. I can’t is the easy way out, rooted in laziness, for avoiding hard work. With I can’t, you’re missing out.

Hard work is good. The process of hard work, the going-through-it journey, can be filled with more joy than the end result. I can’t is choosing not to. I’m allergic to that kind of I can’t, for I can’t is really more like I won’t. 

2. “I won’t.”
Stubborn, prideful, heels-dug-in attitudes. Me-first, center-of-the-universe realities that are inward-focused. “I” is the key word. “Won’t” is the selfishness.

Not only am I allergic to I won’t, but it also brings on bouts of sadness. Sadness for the person who insists on I won’t and, therefore, doesn’t get the good stuff in life. Their own choice, but it’s still heartbreaking. Not something I want to be involved with.

3. “Good enough.” 
I don’t buy good enough. Good enough is quitting before best comes in and blows all expectations away. Good enough is the slippery slope of performing less and less and less, until we’re shadows of who (and what) we can (and should) be.

The person with the good enough lifestyle fools him- or herself into believing that less of life is acceptable. It may be acceptable, but it’s not as full, joyful, or brilliant. I want more.

3. “Later,” as in “I’ll deal with it later.”
When is later? If we don’t define later, later never comes. Give later a time slot, make it happen, get the results, get more, live better, feel better, do better…all because later actually happened.

Those who don’t name a time for later never really wanted later in the first place. So later is a self-lie, soothing the moment and rooted, again, in laziness. Yes, I’m being harsh. Truth can be harsh. But what happens if we don’t look at truth? I don’t accept the alternative. (I want more.)

4. “That will never happen.”
You’re right. If you say (and believe) those words, it won’t.

What you believe comes to be. Or doesn’t. Keep on saying that, and you’re stuck. Most likely, you’ll even change your reality to become your belief, to say, “See! I told you so!” Yeah. You created it so.

Change your words (and mind), and a bazillion possibilities — all positive — open up before you. Again, your choice.

5. …. (silence)
Oh, I love silence when you’re with someone who really gets you, and words don’t have to be spoken, because we experience a special level of understanding. But I’m highly allergic to silence that’s used as a weapon.

Mean-spirited silence can be as iron-hard (and as painful) as a physical blow. Those who wield silence as a tool to hurt are, in my allergy-book prescription, to be avoided, for the discomfort that always ensues.

In fact, all of these allergens cause discomfort, reactions, and plain-ol’ unhappy living. So they’re best to be avoided. Look for life-food that brings you health, and set a banquet table with energy-giving sustenance.

So. Okay.
Let me redefine the beginning sentence.

“I’m” is me. This post is my opinion, and mine only.
“Allergic to” means that I react. My body, mind, and soul react. All of me.
“A lot” — Okay, it’s only five. But for this kind of list, five is plenty.
“Things” means attitudes, as well as the words resulting from the attitudes. Attitudes and actions sculpt your life and mine.

What lies underneath our words shapes our lives.
My hands are in the life-clay, even as we speak.
So, since you and I are in this together, I have to ask:

Are your hands in your life-clay?
(Are you aware of these phrases and how they affect you,
and are you doing something about it?)

Or do you accept these phrases (and beliefs) and let them cause havoc in your life?
(Yup. It’s a choice.)


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