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Challenge your Mindset

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The reasons that you should avoid these negative words.


‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’ might not be strictly true. So much goes behind a word, so much so that we believe that choosing words carefully can make a world of difference. From the conversation topic, to your tone, to your body language, to your volume, a word is more than letters and phonics.

Here are five negative words that you should avoid as much as possible and reasons why:


This one should be avoided mainly because it’s often used incorrectly. You most likely can do what is asked of you. It’s not your capability stopping you, but your will or difficult circumstances surrounding you. Explain your difficulties, ask for help or offer alternatives instead of shooting down suggestions. It makes you sound like you don’t want to contribute or attempt anything when that’s not the case. There are phrases which suggest other possibilities instead. ‘What if’ shows open-mindedness but better intent and desire to do something than ‘I can’t’.


Try suggests half-heartedness, despite the fact it’s normally used to disguise reluctance to complete something. ‘I will try’ is normally accompanied by negative body language and quiet, less confident delivery than ‘I will do’. Over time, people have picked up on the social connotations this word has picked up, so you should think of a synonym, or just be honest about your true feelings regarding something.


Nothing is a failure. It’s a necessary step towards improvement, even in the most grave circumstances. More so, mistake is a better option for the less serious tone that comes with it. We all make mistakes, and more often than not they can’t be taken back or completely undone. They can only be forgiven and moved on from. Constantly keeping ‘failure’ in your inner dialogue just breeds a negative self-opinion. If you see everything as a failure, you’ll eventually shut yourself away from living out of fear. Reconcile with yourself that you will make mistakes and accept the lessons from them, however tough they might be.[why we have to fail before we can succeed]


‘Must’ puts pressure on you, and is often used about things that are less important as it suggests. ‘Must’ means that something has to be done or else. It can’t wait, it can’t be negotiated and it has to come first as a priority. If we thought about all the things we need to do in this way, we’d become too overwhelmed to know where to start [What to do when you feel overloaded].


When they say ‘never say never’, despite the paradox, they have a point. It’s a promise made to be broken and the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it comes to reverse psychology. If you resolve to never do something, you become tempted to do it even if it hasn’t crossed your mind before. It’s good in life to accept that it happens randomly and circumstances always change. You don’t really know if you’re never going to do something. ‘Never’ also makes it hard for you to forgive yourself if you do it anyway. You’re shooting yourself in the foot.

There’s an important part of psychology to consider behind word choice. A lot of history in use and social meaning goes into words beyond their dictionary definition which we all unconsciously pick up on. It can’t do you any harm to think before you speak. The words that you choose can be the difference between positive communication and change, to staying at a standstill or in a worsening situation. Sidestep the negativity whenever you can. For support in changing your negative thoughts into positive visit our Video Moods series and you can start to feel empowered.


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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