Friday, May 13, 2011

I Can Do Hard Things

No, that's not what she said.

While browsing Etsy the other day I came across this piece of artwork and it made me pause, like any good art should.

Image courtesy of Barn Owl Primitives on Etsy.

At first I wasn't certain what about it I found so intriguing. It wasn't that the message was so bold or daring. In fact, the meaning isn't so different from the iconic Rosie the Riveter posters featuring the now-familiar refrain, "We Can Do It!" It also wasn't the sign's stoic tone, which now feels familiar thanks to the the vintage British "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters that everyone seems to have these days. The more I thought about it, I kept coming back to the simplicity of the message, which cut through all the layers of excuses and denial and fear with a simple, honest, no frills statement: "We can do hard things."

I appreciate the honesty of the message as well. It doesn't say we will do hard things. Acknowledging that it is our choice to do so, it only says that we can. It also doesn't mislead us into believing that we will necessarily succeed at these hard things. We will sometimes fail, but we will still have done them. It isn't the success or failure that we are certain of, only that it can be gotten through and done.

I think this sign struck such a deep chord with me now because the last year has been full of hard things for me. I took a huge leap when I separated from my ex-husband and eventually filed for divorce. I was leaving behind a very secure life with someone I knew loved me and who would have done nearly anything to make our marriage work. There were countless times when I felt like I was way out on a very shaky limb, and I thought that going back to my old life would have been easier. And perhaps in some ways it would have been. But instead I did the hard thing, the scary thing, the thing I wasn't certain I would succeed at, and I'm proud of that now.

Coming out of that chaotic year, one of the things I value most is truly knowing that I can do hard things. When I was younger I often questioned my abilities and was always very quick to say, "I can't." New and hard things petrified me. But now I know, without a doubt, that I can do hard things. I may not always do them gracefully, and I may not even succeed at them, but I can get through them, and that knowledge will give me the courage to keep doing hard things in the future.

Note: While I've included a link to the Etsy shop that sells this item, I haven't purchased anything from the seller and I won't receive any sort of compensation if you visit the store or make a purchase. This is just something I saw that made me think, so I wrote about it. No endorsement from me and no profit for me.


ilovebabyquilts said...

That's actually way more inspiring than either of the other signs you mentioned. I also need inspiration to do hard things.

Lindsey said...

This is an amazing sign. It was featured in the Etsy homepage just five minutes ago, and now I come across this blog entry. Yes. We can do hard things.

Erin said...

@Lindsey - So glad you found this as inspirational as I did. I'm currently saving my pennies to buy it...

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