Friday, October 21, 2011

I Just Can't Stand It!

There are a few phrases that make my skin crawl when I hear them. The first one is an inappropriate use of the word "should", and another is the use of the phrase "I can't stand it!". Both of these phrases are indicators that something irrational is about to happen, and I had better look out!

Why is "I can't stand it", or "Can't Stand-itis", irrational? Can't Stand-itis infers that a person cannot withstand or tolerate a situation, or that a person NEEDS a situation to be different than it is (see "But, Mom, I REALLY NEED it!"). This type of thinking often leads people to avoid situations out of fear rather than believing they can effectively handle the situation and therefore approaching the situation without fear.

When we say we can't stand something we are in effect saying that we will die or this situation will kill us if it doesn't change. So when someone tells me that they can't stand something, I often say, "Sure you can. You've been in this situation for a while now, and you're not sitting here dead. You can stand it. You just don't like it." Once I make my point, the person often has more confidence to approach their situation, seek a sound solution, and implement it effectively.

The next time you hear yourself saying, "I just can't stand ______!", replace that thought with "I really can stand it, I just don't like it. Because I don't like it, I'm going to do something about it."

For more information, check out Aldo Pucci's book Feel the Way You Want to Feel...No Matter What!