Whether you think you can’t stand one more day at the office, or you’re convinced you can’t stand another minute of a dull seminar, don’t give into those thoughts right away. In fact, the more you think you can’t stand something, the more important it is to prove yourself wrong.
Just because you think you can’t stand it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (See my previous article on The 10 Thinking Errors that Will Hold You Back in Life). You’re likely able to tolerate much more than you give yourself credit for. However, the more you think you can’t possibly tolerate another second, the worse you’re likely to feel and the more those thoughts will impact your behavior.
Examples of “I Can’t Stand It”
Choosing to avoid uncomfortable feelings offers some immediate short-term relief, but avoidance can lead to long-term consequences. Here are some ways that thinking, “I can’t stand this,” causes problems for people:
- If you think, “I can’t stand being hungry,” you may eat frequently to avoid any chance that you’ll experience hunger. You may begin eating an extra snack before you head into a meeting or you may stop to pick up an extra bite to eat before your commute home. Even when you don’t feel hungry, you may decide not to take any chances and eat as a preventative measure. Eventually, your waistline may suffer the consequences.
- Thinking, “I can’t stand my job anymore,” will likely cause you to only focus on all the negative aspects of your work. You may ignore anything positive about your job and convince yourself that you need to quit right away.
- When you think, “I can’t stand going to those boring department meetings,” you aren’t likely to look for solutions that could make the meeting more productive. Instead, you may begin to avoid the meetings altogether or waste time complaining to other people about how much you dislike the meetings.
Why Believing Your Self-Doubt is a Bad Idea
Just because you feel uncomfortable, doesn’t mean you need to give up right away. Here are the reasons why you should prove to yourself that you don’t need to stop doing something just because you think you can’t stand it:
- Thinking you can’t stand something influences how you feel. You’re likely to feel a sense of dread, anxiety, or even anger as you approach something that you think you can’t tolerate. As you experience more negative emotions about something, your thoughts are likely to become exaggeratedly negative.
- If you give up every time you can’t stand something, you aren’t likely to reach your goals. It’s likely that you greatly underestimate your capabilities. You may sell yourself short if you give up every time you think you can’t stand something.
Prove to Yourself You Can Stand It
When you think you can’t stand something any longer, prove yourself wrong. If you think you can’t stand something for another minute, stick around for two minutes just to prove to yourself that you can do it. If you think you can’t stand one more week at the office, resolve to work at least two more weeks. Make a conscious decision that you won’t allow your negative thoughts to limit your potential.
That doesn’t mean you need to work at a job you hate for 30 years just for the sake of it, but by working one day longer than you thought you could, you can prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. If you choose to quit your job, it’s important to understand you quit by choice, not because you couldn’t stand the discomfort any longer.
When you conduct behavioral experiments that prove your thinking wrong, eventually, it will change the way you think. You’ll begin to see that you have more potential than you ever even imagined. You’ll be less likely to think, “I can’t do that.” Instead, you’ll recognize all the things that you can choose to do.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.
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