Saturday, March 30, 2019

5 Common Disempowering Phrases We Use

These phrases are disempowering and promote disempowerment, which is why we need to know these phrases to encourage using empowering words and promote empowering others, empowerment, and empowerment activities.

I was reading How to Be a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. From pages 81 to 84, she talks about how we need to watch what we say because it can stop us from manifesting money into our lives. When I was reading this section, it got me thinking of how powerful words are. They can affect how we feel, how we see ourselves, how people see us, and they can give or take power away from us. I started thinking of and researching phrases that disempower us. And, you know what? We say a lot of phrases that can disempower us.

I didn't realize how much I said these phrases until I caught myself saying them often. I was subconsciously disempowering myself for 22 years! It only seemed right to share these 5 Common Disempowering Phrases We Use to prevent you guys from unknowingly disempowering yourselves, too.

1.) I can't

You and I both know that we can achieve almost anything that we want. (I say almost anything because I know for a fact I cannot be an astronaut because I'm too short. I'm still kind of bitter about it.) There might be some crazy obstacles and some intense learning curves, but if we really took the time to focus to do it, we could do it. 

So, once you start spewing the, "I can't do it," you're literally saying that you're incapable of doing something or of learning how to do something when in reality you know damn well you are capable of doing it. You may not have the knowledge base yet, but you can learn. 

You're saying, "I don't know how to and I never will." So, as a result, you might actually prevent yourself from doing something amazing, like pursuing your dreams.

Or, if you're using it as a way to get out of something that you don't want to, just say, "I don't want to," or "I'm not willing to." Do you hear the difference? It sounds more like you're have control overall as opposed to using "I can't."

What to say instead:

I'm not sure how to do that yet.
I haven't learned how to do that yet.
I don't want to.
I'm not willing to.

2.) I should

The problem that Jen Sincero and I have with "I should," is that you might not want to do whatever you're saying you should do and you might not even necessarily take action. It also kind of implies that you don't think you have a choice in what your actions and priorities are, instead, outside forces dictate what your should-do actions are. When in reality, we know that you're commander-in-chief when it comes to your actions and priorities. So, start talking like you are!

What to say instead:

If it's a priority:
I'm choosing to do this.
I am doing this.
I am going to do this.
I am prioritizing this.

If it's not a priority:
This isn't a priority right now so I'm not going to do it right now.
I don't want to do this right now.

3.) I don't have the time.

The famous “I don’t have the time” excuse. If I’m being candid, it’s a bullshit excuse because you find time for anything that you want to do. Maybe you’ll wake up a little earlier so you can exercise. Or maybe you’ll limit your time on social media and watching Netflix after work so you can work on job hunting. Whatever it is you can make time for it. It’s all about time management and prioritizing.

Not only is it bullshit but it’s also really disempowering. You’re telling the world and the Universe that you’re not in charge of how you spend your time; outside factors are in control of your life and time. Of course, the majority of us have responsibilities that may be a little more difficult to get away from like our full-time jobs and taking care of and supporting our families.

But, take into account your free time, how much do you have? How do you spend that time? Do you do the things that are on the top of your priority list? Or, do you kill your time doing other things? If you don’t have time to spend for yourself, how can you make time for yourself? Wake up earlier? Block out a time? Stay up later?

Trust me, if you are dedicated to making something happen, you’ll manage to fit it in your schedule regardless of how busy you are. It’s like how when you got your first full-time job. You literally carved out 40 hours of your time so you can work at this particular job.

I know some of you guys are thinking, “Donna! You’re delusional. I haven’t checked off all these things off my to-do list. There's just too many things to do!” And, I get that I’ve been there. I got over that guilt and overwhelming feeling when I started prioritizing the top 2-3 things that I want to achieve that day.

Work on your number one top priority first. Then, your second. And your third. And if you still got some more fuel in your tank, check off some of those less important tasks on your list.  If one of my prioritized tasks took longer than I expected and I couldn’t get to the other ones, then I would just say, “That tasks weren't a priority at the moment.”

So, instead of saying, “I don’t have the time for that,” try, “That’s not a priority right now.”

Do you hear the difference? The latter is much more empowering.

4.) I just/only (fill in action here).

I find that a lot of women, myself included, have a habit of saying “just” or "only" before an action that they are doing/did. For example, "I just/only did the dishes." or "I just/only cooked a meal." or "I just/only emailed them about the conference." or "I just/only wrote an article." And, it's like no, girl. You did the dishes. You cooked for them. You emailed them about the conference. You wrote an article. Whatever you just did, you did it!

Maybe you don't get what I'm trying to say. What it comes down to is, you're minimizing your actions. You're making it seem like it's not a big deal and that you didn't do much. But in reality, you probably did something super important, did something you went out of your way to do, and/or something that's critical. See how many times you say just or only in your everyday conversations. You might be surprised by how often you make your actions seem small.

I actually got this from the Financial Diet's How to Fake Being Confident video, which I have conveniently placed below.  I've even skipped to the part where she starts talking about this phrase. She has a different perspective of this, although, I agree with her point of view of the word "just." She also mentions several different phrases that I've included in this blog post, too. Like:

I can't at 11:53.
I don't have time at 12:41.

Here's the link to the Forbes article that she referenced in the video: Ban These Words From Your Vocabulary To Sound More Confident At Work.

5.) I'm sorry.

Another phrase that's common among women is, "I'm sorry. We tend to apologize for things that aren't even really our fault. In the long run, saying sorry incessantly can actually affect our self-esteem, make us feel small, and shows that we're not confident. Not only that, but it actually gives a signal to the other person that you're submissive and weak, but you're not. You're a strong, independent person who won't let people walk all over you.

I'm not saying to never say sorry, especially if we actually did something wrong and if we actually mean it. I’m saying stop saying sorry for things that weren’t even your fault and were out of your control.

To better explain this, I'm gonna have you watch this Barbie vlog. Before you shut down this video, just give it a chance. Barbie has some good points. And, I think it's fantastic that she's teaching young girls about this. You know, start them early.

A great way to go around, "I'm sorry," is by switching it around to gratitude. Here is a great graphic from for different examples.

This was something I struggled with and is something I have to be mindful about. I said sorry for little things like if I needed to get around someone, I would say, “Excuse me, sorry.” When all I needed to say was, “Excuse me.” Or if I was helping a difficult customer when I worked at Clarks, I would say, “I’m sorry but I can’t do that.” All I needed to say was, “I understand that you’re frustrated but that’s against our company policy and I can’t do that.”

I thought saying sorry was a way to soften a blow, be polite, and/or to make me seem nicer, but it only really disempowered me. After reading several Twitter posts, books, and articles about it, I realized that you can be nice and polite without saying, “I’m sorry.”

If you liked this post, share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. If you need to save it for your own reference, pin it in on Pinterest! Share your comments below! I've made an infographic down below for you to use for your reference. And, remember I'm always rooting for your growth! 

Empowering yourself and empowering others by changing disempowering beliefs and words with empowering words

These phrases are disempowering and promote disempowerment, which is why we need to know these phrases to encourage using empowering words and promote empowering others, empowerment, and empowerment activities.

Thank you for reading! If you liked this, you'll love How to Get Over Your Fears.

With love and positive vibes,

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