If you catch yourself using these 8 phrases, it’s time to work on your self-esteem

Let’s talk about self-esteem. It’s that little voice inside your head that can either whisper “you’ve got this” or yell “you’re not good enough.”

Sometimes, the words we use can give us away. They can show the world, and more importantly, ourselves, that our self-esteem needs a bit of a boost.

And trust me, it’s not just about what you say to others, but also the phrases you tell yourself.

So, if you find these phrases creeping into your vocabulary, it might be time to work on your self-esteem.

1) “I’m sorry”

Have you ever noticed how often you apologize? Yes, apologies are necessary when we’ve done something wrong. But, let’s get real, how often are we genuinely at fault?

Apologizing unnecessarily is a common trait among people with low self-esteem. It’s like a reflex action, an automatic response to almost any situation.

Why? Well, it’s often because we feel the need to take the blame, even when things are beyond our control. We might believe we’re inconveniencing others or assume responsibility for situations that aren’t our doing.

But you don’t have to apologize for existing or taking up space. You deserve to be here just as much as anyone else.

So, instead of saying “I’m sorry” when it’s not warranted, try changing it to “Thank you for understanding” or “I appreciate your patience”. That way, you’re acknowledging the situation without diminishing your own worth.

2) “I can’t”

This is one I’ve caught myself saying more often than I’d like to admit. You see, for the longest time, I had this habit of saying “I can’t” before even trying something new.

Whether it was trying out a new hobby or taking on a challenging task at work, my immediate reaction would be “I can’t do this.” It was like an automatic response, a self-imposed limitation before even giving it a shot.

Then one day, a friend pointed it out. She told me how I was setting myself up for failure even before starting. And that hit me hard.

That’s when I realized that “I can’t” was less about my actual capabilities and more about my low self-esteem.

If you relate to this, it’s time for a change. Swap the “I can’t” with “I’ll give it a try” or “Let’s see how it goes”. It’s not about forcing positivity but about giving yourself a chance. After all, self-esteem starts with believing in your own abilities.

3) “I’m fine”

When asked how we’re doing, the default response for many of us is “I’m fine”. But are we always fine? Not really.

According to a study by the Mental Health Foundation, the average person says “I’m fine” 14 times a week, yet only 19% actually mean it.

Now, this isn’t about wearing your heart on your sleeve and pouring out your emotions to anyone who asks how you’re doing. It’s about honesty with yourself and others.

You see, constantly saying “I’m fine” when you’re not, is a way of avoiding confrontation with your feelings. It’s a defense mechanism that people with low self-esteem often use to avoid appearing weak or vulnerable.

So next time someone asks how you are, take a moment. If you’re not okay, it’s perfectly alright to say so. You don’t have to go into details if you don’t want to. But acknowledging that you’re not “fine” is the first step towards boosting your self-esteem.

4) “It’s all my fault”

Taking responsibility for your actions is one thing, but shouldering the blame for everything that goes wrong is another.

If you find yourself saying “It’s all my fault” frequently, this could be a sign of low self-esteem. This phrase implies that you’re willing to carry unnecessary guilt and burden, even for things beyond your control.

It’s important to remember that not every problem or mistake should land on your shoulders. Sure, we all have a part to play in certain situations, but it’s rarely ever “all” our fault.

Instead of taking all the blame, try to see the situation more objectively. Analyze what went wrong and how everyone involved contributed to it. This will not only take some weight off your shoulders but also help you learn from the situation and grow your self-esteem.

5) “I’m not good enough”

This phrase is a silent whisper for many of us. It’s that niggling doubt that we aren’t talented enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or simply enough.

Saying “I’m not good enough” is like planting a thorn in your self-esteem. Each time you repeat it, the thorn digs deeper, making it harder to uproot.

But here’s the truth that your heart needs to hear: You are more than enough just as you are. You don’t need to be more or do more to deserve love, respect, and acceptance.

The next time you catch yourself thinking or saying “I’m not good enough”, pause. Take a deep breath and remind yourself of all the good in you. It’s not easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But every small step you take towards self-love will help build your self-esteem.

6) “I should have”

“I should have…” – how many times have we all said this? I remember a time when I found myself constantly looking back with regret, wishing I had done things differently.

This phrase can be a reflection of low self-esteem because it’s often paired with guilt and shame. It’s about dwelling on past mistakes and missed opportunities, which prevents us from moving forward.

But here’s what I learned: “should haves” don’t get us anywhere. They keep us stuck in the past, making us doubt our worth and abilities.

So instead of saying “I should have”, try saying “Next time, I will…”. This small change can make a big difference. It shifts the focus from past regrets to future possibilities, allowing us to learn and grow instead of staying stuck in guilt and regret.

7) “They’re better than me”

This phrase is a hallmark of comparison, one of the greatest enemies of self-esteem. When we compare ourselves to others, we often end up feeling inadequate, believing that others are somehow better than us.

But remember, comparison is a thief of joy. It robs you of your own achievements and abilities by making you focus on what others have or do.

The truth is, everyone has their own journey, with unique strengths and challenges. Instead of comparing yourself with others, focus on your own progress. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem.

A shift from “They’re better than me” to “I’m doing the best I can” can go a long way in building your self-esteem.

8) “I don’t deserve…”

This phrase is perhaps the most destructive of all. Saying “I don’t deserve…” is like placing a glass ceiling on your own life. It’s a self-imposed barrier that prevents you from reaching your potential.

Whether it’s love, success, happiness, or respect, you deserve all the good things in life. Your self-worth is not tied to your mistakes or failures. It’s inherent and unchangeable.

So let’s replace “I don’t deserve…” with “I am worthy of…”. Because you are. You are worthy of love, success, and all the wonderful things life has to offer. This belief is the foundation of self-esteem. So start building on it today.

The power of self-talk

When it comes to self-esteem, it’s often our own words that hold the most sway over us. The phrases we use, the words we repeat, can shape our perception of ourselves.

This is where the power of self-talk comes into play. Research suggests that positive self-talk can boost our confidence and overall mental health.

When we change the way we talk to and about ourselves, we can change how we see ourselves. “I’m not good enough” can become “I am worthy”. “I can’t” can transform into “I’ll give it a try”.

This shift in language is not just about semantics. It’s about reconstructing our internal narrative, changing the story we tell ourselves about who we are and what we’re capable of.

So, be mindful of your spoken and unspoken words. If you catch yourself using phrases that diminish your worth, pause. Reflect on why you’re using them and how they make you feel.

Remember, you have the power to change your narrative. Your words matter – especially the ones you say to yourself.

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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