Coming face-to-face with a limitation can sting and be humbling.
It can throw a wrench into your plans, or derail them entirely. Limitations can force you to see a reality that you’d rather not acknowledge.
And the ugly truth is, they are present in most aspects of our lives.
Perhaps you need to finish a certain project in a day, but there simply isn’t enough hours in that day. Or you need to fix a water heater but the money just isn’t there.
I recently faced a situation where I was unable to be in the hospital while my stepdaughter was having an emergency surgery. Because of COVID, only her birth parents were allowed while her mom’s fiance and myself waited in our cars.
It was hard. I desperately wanted to be there for her and my husband. But the reality of the situation was that it wasn’t possible.
You may have heard the quote, “Life has no limitations except the ones you make.” Bless his heart, I think Les Brown was making an important point here. That we often limit ourselves more than necessary with negative thoughts.
But in truth, life does have certain limitations and we can either accept them or change them.
I needed to accept that the current health crisis restricted my ability to support my husband during that time. I found other ways, by texting him and staying near the hospital, to support him.
But the only thing I was going to do by raging against the system was upset my mental health and make the day more difficult for the medical workers who are already struggling.
How you face your limitations and what that says about you
We’ve all seen them. The people who face their boundaries and fall apart.
They blame everyone and everything else. They resort to drug or alcohol abuse. They try to cheat and get their way despite their limits.
Or maybe it’s not as dramatic as that. Maybe they keep going when they know they shouldn’t. Then they burn out and quit. Or cause mental anguish when there were other options.
Sometimes we’re so blinded by our plans and perceived path that when we hit our limitations we’re unable to see around them.
So the question is, what type of person do you want to be when you face your limitations?
Do you want to accept them and move on if necessary? Or figure out how to change them and move forward that way?
Or do you want to let limitations ruin your day/life/year?
If you want to be part of the first group, the group who thrives despite limitations, consider the following questions.
Is it a limitation or a freedom?
Sometimes all it takes is a simple change of perspective.
What may be a limitation in one regard could actually be the freedom to go in a completely different direction.
Take a look at this example:
I recently started a recall in my community for an incompetent elected official. The stress and activity of the recall campaign have made my health entirely tank. All the progress I had made since quitting my job has reversed and I’m in pretty rough shape.
And I’ve let that limitation get me WAY down.
But maybe (and yes I’m talking to myself here), my health has allowed me to focus on the areas of the recall I really enjoy doing instead of being out beating the pavement and gathering petition signatures.
I’ve had the freedom to not worry about gathering all the signatures because my health limits the amount of time I can spend in the sun and being active.
So ask yourself, is there a freedom you have gained as a result of your limitation? And get creative here. Be willing to think outside the box.
Honestly, look at this like you’re trying to cheer yourself up. Imagine you are helping a friend through a similar situation and try to help them look at the positive side.
Can you compromise to make the best of it?
If you’re a functioning member of society, you have probably had to compromise at some point. It’s not always fun and you don’t always get everything you want.
But generally there are small victories that come along with compromising.
So try to apply this to your situation. Is there some small victory you can find in your limitation? Is there some way you can ‘make the best of it’?
I think you’ll find that there generally is some way to do that.
Take a look at this example:
In 2019, I was faced with a mounting health crisis that was causing tremendous issues with my ability to work. It culminated in me making several mistakes that were completely contrary to the work ethic I had always had for myself.
After talking to my husband, I decided it was best to step down from my position. I was devastated. My health had finally become a limitation for my ability to work. Everything I knew and thought about myself for 33 years came crashing down around me.
It took a week of tearful prayer and talking to my husband before I decided that I could find a compromise. I could find a way to earn income without the stress of a job.
It wasn’t how I envisioned my life going. It certainly didn’t take into account my years of education and experience. But it worked for me and it worked for my family. We compromised. And I’ve been extremely happy with my decision since then.
Can you change the limitation or should you accept it?
This one can be a game changer.
Sure you have plans. You have an idea of how your day or life should go. But when you hit that wall, is there something you can do about it?
If your health is something that can be controlled, is there more you can do to help?
If it’s money or time that’s an issue, are there areas you can sacrifice to open more resources for where you need them?
Just maybe the limitation needs to be accepted. In my example above, where I wanted to be present during my stepdaughters emergency surgery, it simply wasn’t possible.
I could have driven myself and everyone else nuts. Or I could accept the limitation and figure out how to work around it.
It took less than 5 seconds to know the right answer. And the answer was, “It is what it is.”
And sometimes that’s the right answer. If you’re religious, maybe that limitation is God closing one door for you.
Keep looking, though, because there are usually other doors opening when one is closing.
Can you ask for help?
Let’s not forget this important question.
As a general rule, there is help available for people who ask. (Did I just sound a little like Dumbledore for a second?)
But it happens to be true.
There are family and friends who will usually help in any way they can. And if you’re short on those, look for resources in your community.
More than likely you can find some way to work around a limitation. Just because you hit a wall doesn’t mean that you can’t get around it if you try a different method or ask for help.
Bringing It All Together – Facing Limitations
Do you find that one of those questions above helps clarify your situation for you?
I certainly hope you found a new perspective or motivation on how to move forward despite limitations.
As the old adage goes, ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’. It might just be that the way you are looking for isn’t necessarily the way you should go.
Tell me about a time you faced a limitation in the comment section below. I’d love to know how you dealt with it!
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