top of page

Blog Articles

  • Writer's pictureSarah Dresser

How Your Language Changes Your Beliefs

You may well know that your subconscious beliefs inform your actions and thoughts, but are you also aware of how your language influences your beliefs? And how, by changing your language, you can also change your life?

Hypnotherapy reframes to take you from I can't to I can!

Subconscious Sabotage

We form 95% of our beliefs by the time we are 8 years old, as I describe in a previous article. Beliefs are formed from our past experiences and, specifically, from our interpretation of those past experiences. By age 8, we have formed our world view and, just as importantly, our self-image.

As we progress through childhood to adulthood, we become more aware of the pressures of social media where it seems there are images of the #bestlife everywhere. As a teenager we become even more vulnerable to peer pressure and the increasingly higher standards in society due to the rise in perfectionism.

Pressure and Perfectionism Leads to Paralysis

A combination of peer pressure, perfectionism and false images on social media, create a very real pressure to always succeed. And not just to succeed, but to be flawless. No room for mistakes. This can lead to a sense of overwhelm and leave us in paralysis.

I Can't Do It!

Perhaps you can look at your own life and notice the times you talked yourself out of the first step towards a goal. It is not the mental processing of the task but the emotional charge behind those words that creates the paralysis. So let's look at what the real meaning is behind the statement "I can't do it!" and how we can move from "I can't" to "I can", from paralysis into action, and build self-belief in the process.

The Emotions Behind "I Can't"

What emotion is behind I can't? Is it intense anxiety? Is it fear of the unknown? Is it fear of failure? Of change or of the unknown? Is it social pressure to always look carefree? As you examine your emotions, imagine interviewing yourself so as not to get swept up in the emotion again. Why is it useful to understand the emotion behind "I can't"? Because you can then see that we are confusing emotions for facts and sabotaging your own success as a result.

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

Behind any of these emotions, I suspect you may well find fear lurking. Les Brown, one of my favourite speakers, breaks down fear as F.E.A.R. as False Evidence Appearing Real. This is a great reminder that you can bring up every time you find yourself saying "I can't". Because fears, like limits, are often illusions that only exist in the mind.

FEAR: false evidence appearing real, quote by Les Brown


Let's break down the real meaning behind "I can't" and apply a reframe. A reframe is a term used in therapy to simply view a situation from a different perspective or through a different lens. Use these reframes to gain insights AND breakthroughs, and then move from inaction to ACTION. Let's do this together.

Reframe 1: "I can't" to "I can't do it right now / today"

The first reframe of "I can't" could be "I can't do it right now" or "I can't do it today". You have too much work committed already or simply need to take time for self-care and to rest and restore your mental and physical energy. This is absolutely valid. Remember: every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to everything else. The Power of No meditation may help you, if you need the reminder.

Reframe 2: "I can' it alone"

Whenever you feel stuck, and "I can't" comes up, ask if it is more a cry for help. Do you need a second pair of hands, or eyes, or input from someone else? If not practical support, what about emotional support? Oftentimes, simply talking through our fears helps us regain perspective.

I can' it alone.  I CAN do this with support

Reframe 3: "I can't" to "I'm afraid of struggling or failing"

"I can't" can sometimes mean feeling afraid of the struggle, or of possible failure. Of striving for something that you may not reach...yet! Social media can feed our fears that we are the only one going through a challenge. So many images these days show just the successes, not the journey. But remember failures or mistakes can become lessons learned which help pave the way to success.

"I did not fail. I have found 10,000 ways a lightbulb does not work"
Thomas Edison

So, choose who you can trust to confide in, and also keep your goals private and announce them ONLY once they are achieved, NOT when you start out. Document your progress only for yourself so you also notice what you are achieving, as well as what still lies ahead. There is something to learn from EVERY mistake or failure if you can move your ego to one side and find the lesson.

Reframe 4: "I can' it all at once"

We see an enormous and complex project or undertaking and feel instantly overwhelmed. In this particular scenario, the first act of the day is not to start the work but start to break the work down into tasks.

A routine is key with any long project. Follow the same routine as much as possible will give you stability during a time of uncertainty and challenge. Perhaps every Monday you do your weekly planning. And every Sunday you take the day off, no matter what. A larger project is a marathon, not a sprint, so mental and physical resilience is key to seeing any project through to completion

During the task work itself, mindfulness is your friend. While you work, focus ONLY what is in front of you, tuning out all other tasks. At the end of each day, spend a minute noticing and thanking yourself for what you achieved.

Reframe 5: "I can't...yet. But with practice I can!"

Learning a second language, an instrument or a subject that doesn't come easily to you may make you say "I can't". But instead of saying "I can't", say "I can't YET!" With practice we can always improve. Perfection lead to paralysis. Focus on improvement. It is only with practice that we can get better and perfection, unless you are working in maths / data, science or technology does not objectively exist.

I can' this yet.  I CAN get better with practice

Reframe 6: Minimize weaknesses, maximize strengths

We can all get better at most things, but I also believe we should spend our time finding out and focusing on developing our natural skills and talents. I myself would be a failure in many lines of work: engineering, accounting and more. It doesn't concern me. Develop your strengths rather than point out your own weaknesses. Silence the inner critic and become your own best friend. You can also use this Meditation to Banish the Inner Critic if you need extra support.

Final Thoughts

Next time you find yourself saying "I can't", use these reframes as reference. And also realize that you have a wealth of gifts, skills and talents. So there may be areas where you will have to work harder and areas where you naturally do better. Don't worry about being good at everything, because you are good at MANY things already.

I truly believe that our life purpose is to uncover our own unique talents and purpose and offer those to the world.

Now that you understand at a conscious level how to change your language to remove those false limits from your life, you can align your subconscious mind with my Change Your Language, Change Your Life Hypnosis here:

About the Author: Sarah Dresser

Author, Sarah Colton Dresser, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Unlock Your Life

Thank you for reading! I'm Sarah Dresser, Clinical Hypnotherapist (M.H., C. Cht) and Coach. I quit a 17 year corporate career to redesign my work life to align with my passions, interests and values. You can read more about my journey and background here.

I believe that low cost and no cost therapy and social support should be available to all as a right, not a privilege. I support a community of over 300k subscribers on my Youtube channel Unlock Your Life

You can also connect with me on Facebook or Instagram.

I've gone through my own journey of facing my own fears and challenges over a period of several years after taking on a career change at age 40. And I've made many mistakes along the way. And, I've learned. I hope and intend to keep improving, learning and offering more to YOU. Because I wake up every day passionate about my life's work. So I do hope these reframes help you too. We rise together!

If you wish to help me continue to provide low cost and no cost support for all, you can do so at I look forward to supporting you and many others on your journey to unlock your life!

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page