I was vacuuming up the crumbs from my Easter brunch this a.m. and accidentally bumped into a vase. I automatically uttered, “Ooops. Sorry.”
I looked around the room and wondered why and to whom I apologized. Habit I guess.
Everyday Health magazine warns that we should stop self deprecating phrases which diminish us as humans.
Here some examples of no-nos:
1. “I’m soooo sorry.”
The situation: You brush up against someone in the elevator. Or ask a question in a big meeting. Or fumble around in your wallet and take too long to pay the cashier at the coffee shop.
Why it’s unhealthy: “Over-apologizing for minor, unnecessary things can do a number on your self-worth because you’re basically saying, ‘I’m not important.”
Next time, say: Nothing at all. Bite your tongue and reserve those earnest apologies for acts that truly deserve them.
2. “Ugh, I’m beyond stressed.”
The situation: You stare at the 72 unread emails in your inbox or your three-page-and-growing to-do list and throw up your hands in despair.
Why it’s unhealthy: With four small words, you imply incompetence. “A lot of times we speak in terms of ‘all or nothing,’ and those statements lead nowhere but down,” says Bennett. Take a step back and have another look at the situation. You’ll probably realize that you’re not falling apart, but you could just use some help prioritizing or delegating. You’re only human, and you can pretty much only do one thing at a time.
Next time, say: “I’m feeling challenged right now.” This puts you in a solution-seeking mindset and you can figure out what to do to move forward.
3. “I can’t afford this.”
The situation: You ogle a gorgeous pair of strappy sandals in your favorite department store (and put them right back down after seeing the price tag). Or you go into sticker shock when the travel agent tallies the cost of the Caribbean cruise you were thinking of booking for your anniversary.
Why it’s unhealthy: When you use the word “can’t,” you’re acting as if you’re not in control of your own situation, and so you limit your possibilities. “Most likely, with some creativity, you could find a way to buy those shoes or take that trip,” says Bennett.
Next time, say: “I choose not to spend money on that right now.” This empowers you with the option of spending money later and brainstorming about how to budget for it.
The situation: Over a glass of pinot with girl friends, girl talk suddenly turns into a competition of who hates their body more.
Why it’s unhealthy: Pointing out and focusing on the alleged jiggle, whether to friends or yourself, is harmful to your body image and self-esteem. Even if your intent is to seek an image-boosting compliment, it can backfire, prompting you to agonize even more over your body flaws and making you feel worse.
Next time, say: “Did I tell you about the cool project I’m managing at work?” or “I love your new haircut!” The point here is to spend time with your friends celebrating each other’s successes instead of commiserating over flaws.