Negative Phrases You Need To Stop Saying

March 19, 2019  |  
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negativity and the brain

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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.


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.


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.


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.


I wouldn’t count on it

Sometimes, you spew negativity at others, but it probably rebounds and hits you. When someone else is hopeful about something, you say, “I wouldn’t count on it.” You say this because you think you’re helping this person by not getting her hopes up. But you’re just letting your negative thinking permeate those around you.


Trust no one but yourself

Just because you’ve been burned before doesn’t mean that everyone will burn you. And, unfortunately, having a “Trust no one but yourself” mentality can make you behave in such a way that makes others not want to be near you or help you. So it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.


That’s for other people

Promotions, loving relationships, a great social life—you may tell yourself that that’s for other people. That there are the haves and the have-nots and you’re in the latter group. But it’s quite possible that that very mentality put you there. Few people want to promote, date, or socialize with someone who has such a sad outlook.


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.



That’s just the way things are

Unfair, backwards, misogynistic—you say, “That’s just the way things are.” If you tell yourself that, then you’ll never make any attempts to change things. Things will stay just as they are, but not because they were unchangeable, but rather because you did nothing about it.


That person doesn’t like me

There may be a lot of people you encounter every day whom you believe don’t like you. Maybe it’s because they don’t talk to you, smile at you, or say much. You’ve decided, after one interaction, they don’t like you, and will leave it alone. For all you know, they’re shy, depressed, or stressed out. Maybe they need someone to make more of an effort, rather than just give up on them.


I blew it again

Perhaps, for you, there’s only zero or 100 when it comes to how you feel about first dates, job interviews, and things like that. If you make the tiniest mistake, you say that you blew it. That’s not the most helpful of attitudes, and it will send you into future first dates or job interviews with the idea—deep in your mind—that you always blow it. That is bound to cause you to be nervous, and make more mistakes.


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.


She just got that because insert excuse here

She just got that job because the boss has a crush on her (one of the many sexist things people say about successful women) or she just got that boyfriend because she has fake breasts. You make excuses as to why people get things (the things that perhaps you want) that rob them of all credit. But this outlook takes no responsibility. It assumes that there’s nothing you can do to get the things you want, because hard work or simply being yourself won’t be good enough.



I need to be realistic

When you catch yourself wanting something—a job, a partner, recognition—you stop yourself and say, “I need to be realistic.” If you say this enough, you’ll likely stop even going for the things you want, and settling for less.


What’s even the point?

Adopting a “What’s the point” attitude is a slippery slope. You could ask that question about literally anything and then you’d never do anything. And, life can’t really answer you—right away—as to what the point is. You just have to go for things, and the point will reveal itself.


I’m going to mess this up

You get a job you want or you get into a relationship and you tell yourself that you’re just going to mess things up. This, too, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’ve decided you’ll mess things up, so you stop putting in any effort, believing it would be for nothing anyways, and that messes things up.

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