I have several students who struggle with math. That's okay. Perfectly normal. My job is to work with them and help them improve anyway.
By the time they get to me, these struggling students have often come to the conclusion that they can't do math, period. So a big part of my job is to undo that damage.
I'm not a magician, so it doesn't always work. But if I can find one thing they're successful with, reinforce it, and find another ... sometimes that sets off a chain reaction. They think maybe they can do a few things in math. They're a little more willing to try, a little more patient with their own mistakes.
They stop saying, "I can't." Instead, they ask questions.
And that can build momentum that'll take them far, long after they leave my class.
Other times, the barrier remains. They've given up. They refuse to believe. (So I try a little harder, try other ways. Jury's out on whether it works in a lot of cases.)
How often in our own lives do we let "I can't" become self-fulfilling? Not that saying, "I can," instantly makes all possible ... but it certainly doesn't hurt as a first step.
What helps you get past that, to begin to believe it might be possible?
And when the larger obstacles come, what helps you keep going?