Negative thinking affects all of us. Whether we have no idea where we are going in life or whether we feel as if we have everything planned and mapped out for us. Everyone has doubts and fears that they may not be able to achieve their goals, the simple difference between success and failure being whether or not we choose to let our doubts affect the progress we make. If we allow our doubts to hinder and overcome us, we never progress or advance to achieve our goals. That is something that many people are looking to change.
Often I find my own doubts holding me back, particularly when it comes to what I am capable of and what I feel I can reasonably achieve. This is where the awful ‘I Can’t’ phrase comes into play. We become so stuck repeating the mantra of ‘I Can’t’ that we forget all about what we have already achieved and can continue to achieve if we only stop thinking about the potential for failure. We’ll take a look at three key instances where ‘I Can’t’ can affect you, and what you can do to stop it.
- I Can’t Commit
Whether it is to a steady job, a relationship or keeping your finances in order, some people have a hard time committing to things and prefer to live life simply ‘touching the surface’. Unfortunately for many of us, that sort of lifestyle is unsupportable without a lot of money to back it up. If you want to get anywhere in life, you need to be able to seek out commitments and stick to them. Hold down that job, get that promotion, see that partner for more than three dates and see how it goes.
Commitment is often about more than simply ‘I don’t want to be tied down’ and in some cases, when it comes to relationships, at least, it can be due to other underlying issues. A reluctance to commit could simply translate into a fear of being hurt, or becoming too invested into the relationship. Likewise with a career; if you don’t seem committed, you are less likely to be affected in any significant way if the job doesn’t work out. However, we need stability in our lives.
Take things slowly. Try putting a little more effort into your hobbies and career, seeing whether or not you get any returns. It has often been said that ‘you get out what you put in’ so by taking a risk and committing a little more – even if it is just by a tiny amount – you may be surprised with the difference it makes.
That being said, you may have simply not found the right ‘niche’ yet. If you’re having trouble committing to a relationship, perhaps that relationship simply isn’t what you are looking for, and you need to call it off. It is better to cut things off quickly if you feel they have not been working for a while than to stay with someone just for the sake of things.
- I Can’t Overcome This Obstacle
From solving a particularly difficult issue with HR to figuring out how to reduce your electricity bill, to trying to stop your cat bringing dead mice into your bedroom, we face an innumerable series of problems throughout our lifetime. In some cases, we may find that this particular issue is unsolvable and an obstacle that cannot be surpassed. We spend days beating our head against this wall about this particular problem, allowing it to overtake our daily lives. This is unhealthy, causes stress and often makes the issue seem a lot worse than it actually is.
Ask for an external point of view/assistance. If the problem is something that many others are likely to face, your best bet is asking them how they would deal with the situation. Taking a step back from it and going back to the problem later will also help you to calm down and reassess the problem with a clearer mind. When it comes to more long term, larger problems that affect how you live – anxiety and depression for example – you may need to seek professional help.
- I Can’t Get Anything Right
Generalisations are never beneficial when trying to combat negative thinking. The world is not so black and white, yet a major difficulty we have when reflecting on our own shortcomings is that it often feels like it is an ‘all or nothing’ situation. If you feel as if everything is going wrong for you, or that you can’t get anything right, this can be a blanket term for ‘there are a lot of things that feel beyond my control right now’. Take a step back, assess each problem with care and individuality and try not to tackle everything at once.
Address each problem as it presents itself. You will get stuck under worrying about everything if you try to solve all your problems at once. Deal with fixing each one, in turn, starting with those you feel most urgently about. Don’t think of the long term, only take it day by day. Make little steps to improve your situation and you will find your issues easier to manage.
Of course, while this can be helpful advice for general problems, it is always recommended that you see a professional if there is an underlying and constant reason you feel as if the odds are stacked against you. In some situations, it may be due to a chemical hormone imbalance where professional and medical help will be beneficial. It is important to remember that this is in no way ‘giving up’, it is just employing other means of seeking help. If you feel as if you are stuck and you need help, ask for it! There are a number of professionals out there specifically trained to assist in such situations, so it is always worth giving it a go.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the healthcare industry – working with a small selection of practices including London-based counselling, psychotherapy, CBT and life coaching specialist Klear Minds, who were consulted over the information in this piece.