There’s a language many people didn’t have a chance to learn: the language of self-love.
It’s a language filled with respect for oneself. For one’s authentic attempt to live. One that respects learning, and the imperfection that comes when someone doesn’t have all the answers.
This language is less about adding words to a person’s vocabulary, and more about subtracting what is already there.
It’s a conscious attempt to break a habit of word usage that when heard continuously breeds negativity, judgement and self-loathing.
If you want to take an active step in shifting your perception of yourself, watch out for these words:
1. “Just,” adverb, example: “I just need to think positively.”
The use of “just” here implies that someone can do something as quick as a snap of the fingers. When used, it implies a self-judgement and negates the difficulty of changing human behavior.
2. “Never,” adverb, example: “I never remember those things.”
Guaranteed you have at some point done that thing you think in the moment you “never” have. Removing “never” helps us limit self attacks and resist negativity.
3. “Always,” adverb, example “You always do that.”
Nope, no one “always” does something. Just like “never,” it’s not that black and white.
We might think it is in the moment, but that just makes us feel stressed out and horrible. Who wants to think “I always fail at this?”
That’s a sure way to bring yourself down.
4. “Could” and “Would,” verbs, (past of can and will respectively), example: “I could have made a different decision.” or “I would do things differently next time.”
Most often when these words are used it’s because someone feels bad about something and desires the past be undone. The frustration that they can’t change what happened creates a lack of control. While certainly learning from mistakes in invaluable, wishing things had turned out differently pulls us out of the present.
5. “Should,” verb, example: “I should go to the bank.”
The actual written definition of “should” according to Oxford Dictionary is “used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.” When used it shows an extreme dissatisfaction and judgement of a person’s emotions and behaviors.
While obviously the path to decreasing self deprecation takes more than changing a few words, doing so can support you in understanding how and why you find loving yourself challenging.
Notice when you are inclined to use the above words ask yourself how they impact the way you think about yourself; about others; and how you would like to think instead.
Noticing your language is an invaluable start to bringing consciousness to why you feel so poorly at times and offers opportunity to change it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Catherine Monkman