Paddle Your Own Canoe

Paddle Your Own Canoe

As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.
–Katharine Hepburn

Most of us manage to grow up with less than perfect parenting and we manage ok.  We accept that our parents really did do the best they could with what they knew and with the parenting they had received from their parents.  As we experience life problems, we even may recognize some patterns of behaviors we use for coping that we learned from them.  Perhaps some of them work for us, and some of them don’t.  What we do with the ones that don’t work for us can make the difference between feeling stuck and sorry for ourselves, and happy and satisfied in our lives.

  • Do you occasionally take time out to reflect on how your beliefs, attitudes and behaviors are serving you in life?
  • When you recognize a pattern of behavior that does not serve you well do you attempt to change it?
  •  When you attempt a change and are successful do you note what you did that made the change doable?
  • When you attempt a change and are unsuccessful do you give up?

If you feel stuck, seek help.  Sometimes we don’t paddle our canoe because we don’t realize it’s our paddling or lack of paddling that is the problem!  Sometimes we don’t paddle because, well, no one ever taught us how!  And sometimes we don’t paddle because we are afraid of the unknown.

Don’t stay stuck!!  We each have been given a life to live and enjoy not just to survive.  If you are stuck, care enough about yourself to reach out for help whether it be to a good friend, a trusted mentor, a pastor, a trained coach or a therapist, a support group.  There is a myriad of ways to become unstuck if you want.

Reach out, take control of your canoe, go places you never imagined you could.  You’ll be so glad you did.


Patti Bitter, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist in St. Louis, MO.  You can read more about her practice @