The words we use matter and they can make a big difference in the way we feel about ourselves. We all have that little voice in our heads that weighs in on all the things we do or say and if we let it, it can leave us feeling belittled and less capable. But reframing your thoughts can keep that from happening and change your attitude.
Behavioral scientists, researchers and psychologists advise ditching these negative phrases if you want to think more positively and feel more confident:
- “I have to do that” - Swapping one word to make it “I get to do that” can help you see something as an opportunity, rather than an obligation.
- “I can’t do that” - Turn that into “I can try to do that” so you’re not admitting defeat and giving up on yourself before you even start.
- “I should do that” - “Should” is a controlling word that puts pressure on us and by dropping the should and saying “I will do that” or “I won’t do that” lets you be the decision maker who chooses what they’ll do.
- “Why is this happening to me?” - Flip that into “What am I learning from this?” so it’s not a complaint, but a learning opportunity.
- “I never should have” - Try to think about the good things that happened because you did that thing by saying “Because I did that, I now know xyz” instead.
- “I failed” - Things may not have turned out the way you expected, but remind yourself there will be more opportunities by instead saying, “This attempt didn’t work.”
- “It’s not fair” - Life can feel unfair, but repeating that negative mantra only makes you feel beaten down, so try turning that into “I can deal with it anyway.”
- “Never” or “Always” - Things aren’t always black or white and being able to look at things objectively can help you remember that, so avoid absolutes like this altogether.
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