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If you put a tape recorder in your back pocket and played it back to yourself after a few days of recording, you may be surprised at what you hear. Sometimes, we don’t even realize the patterns in our speech, the types of words and phrases we’re prone to using, and our overall tone. And, really, the way we sound often isn’t the way we mean to sound. When we mean to say something encouraging, we can accidentally say something that sounds foreboding. When we mean to just do some brainstorming, we can sound like we’re doubting ourselves. The somewhat scary—or good, depending on which way you go—thing is that, the words we say actually influence our thinking and outlook. We hear ourselves say things, and then our subconscious takes in those messages, internalizing them. It’s a vicious cycle, or a good one, depending on what you say. Here are negative phrases you probably say daily, but should stop.
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1. It’s out of my hands
Sometimes saying this can be a good thing, if you’re saying it when you’ve truly done all you can to make things go your way, and at this point, just need to let the pieces fall where they may. But sometimes, people say this when they haven’t even put in the work to have something yet, and have just decided that, due to the way the world works, due to injustices and unfair systems, it’s out of their hands. No matter what they do.
2. People are the worst
Yes, sometimes people can be frustrating. But just because someone cuts you off in traffic or cuts you in line at the grocery store doesn’t mean that all people are the worst. Saying this regularly will put a negative lens on the way you interpret all actions of others.
3. This would happen to me
Your flight is delayed, the Internet goes down just as you’re sending over that job application, and you say, “This would happen to me.” But, first off, that’s rather self-involved. Those kinds of things happen to a lot of people, every day. But second off, this sentence carries the idea that you’re cursed in some way or things aren’t supposed to work out for you. That mentality won’t get you far.
4. I’m not good at insert skill here
Negotiating, people skills, promotion, networking—you name it. When you tell yourself that you’re not good at that, you remove the most important thing you need to be good at any of those: confidence.
5. Prepare for the worst
Perhaps you think you’re protecting yourself by always keeping your expectations extremely low. You think that, by never hoping for something, you’ll never be let down. But you’ll also spend every day living with the feeling as if the worst has already happened. That’s a shame, and a waste of some perfectly good days.
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