Warning: Saying “I Can’t” Sucks. Say This Instead

There are few phrases I hear more often from clients than “I can’t.” I can’t meditate; I can’t control my temper; I can’t understand my partner; I can’t lose weight. I can’t. It’s a bold statement. It literally says “I cannot do this.” Cannot. Unable. Impossible. No way. Cannot. Yikes; that seems pretty final, don’t you think?

 

 

Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to go all cheerleader on you. I’m not going to have you chant, “I can” ten times in a row while looking in the mirror. That isn’t particularly helpful. But I am going to encourage you to change your language a little bit.

 

Instead of saying “I can’t,” I want you to say, “I’m having trouble.”

 

“I can’t figure out how to make this work” becomes “I’m having trouble figuring out how to making this work.”

 

“I can’t figure out how to get through to him,” changes to “I’m having trouble getting through to him.”

 

“I can’t handle my boss,” switches to, “I’m having trouble handling my boss.”

 

“I’m having trouble,” acknowledges the struggle, but it also leaves room for hope and change. It leaves room for you to work through it and find a solution. It leaves room for you to try something different. It leaves room for the possibility that one day, you will.
Remember y’all, words matter. What we say and how we say it matters. This is true for how we talk with others, and it’s just as true for how we talk to ourselves.

 

So while I won’t tell you to turn your can’ts into cans, I’ll get close. Turn your “I can’ts” into “I’m having trouble.”

 

What thing are currently saying you “can’t” about, and how can you reframe this using the phrase, “I’m having trouble…”

 

PS: Did you like this post?  You’d probably like this one too.

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