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Have you ever stopped to think how much power your words pack? Words are the most potent weapons available to human beings. An individual can choose how to use them, either positively or negatively. Words possess an energy that can heal, help, hurt, or destroy.

The manner in which we talk to others or to ourselves can be so habitually ingrained that we are almost oblivious to what we are actually saying. We need to become aware of certain words and phrases that are a regular part of our vocabulary. Once aware, the next step is to consider whether we are content to perpetuate the pattern of status quo. If you are ready to blast that box open, then here are some suggestions that you might wish to consider.

SHOULD - I should exercise regularly. I should take that online course. I should stop eating so many sweets. I should, I should, I should. The word "should" reeks of guilt and failed intentions. I need to, but I don't "wanna". It implies that you aren't doing enough or aren't good enough. When you use the word "should", you are usually responding to someone else's expectations of how to live your life rather than your own internal desires or goals.

Should is a very disempowering word. We use it on ourselves as a way of excusing ourselves from doing what we know needs doing. The knowledge of what needs doing is clearly in our line of vision, but our motivation and ability to take action are sadly lagging behind. The word's only purpose seems to lie in creating a gap between our goals and their completion.

"Should" can also be wielded as a conscious or heedless weapon when directed at others. You should really go back to school. You shouldn't date him, you should apply for that job. It's a back-handed way of giving unsolicited advice.

Alternatives to "should": What are some preferred alternatives to using "should"? You can change the word to "could" or "would like to" or "I want to". Doesn't that sound a lot more decisive? Doesn't that eliminate a ton of disempowering mental baggage? It has a "clean" feeling to it that sounds less grungy and sticky. I have heard the expression "don't should on yourself."

So pay attention to your words and try to eliminate ones that prevent you from living your best life.


"Can't" is a self-defeating word that concedes failure without a fight. There is always a way to achieve what needs to be done. Saying "I can't" is letting yourself off the hook. Michael Jordan missed a game-winning shot in his college basketball

career, but he used that failure as motivation to become one of the greatest players of all time. Oprah Winfrey said, "Avoid the naysayers. Recognize how to distinguish between those with "can do" versus "can't do" attitudes."

Alternatives to "I can't"

How about saying instead "I've never done this before, but I will give it my best shot." How about saying, "I know this is really difficult, but I will find a way through." Vincent Van Gogh, the famous Dutch artist said, “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”


- Always and never are two very powerful words that can have a far-reaching impact. I am thinking, in particular, how these words are frequently used within a relationship. Accusations like "You never tell me that you love me". You never take out the garbage without me telling you to." "You're always late." "You always forget my birthday." Always? Never? Really? These words sound very accusatory and can certainly escalate an argument or disagreement unnecessarily. Besides, it's NOT true.

These 2 words can also come in very handy for people who like to complain. "It always rains on the weekend." "The bus is always late."

Alternatives to "Always" and "Never"

Try avoiding the high drama of these 2 words, by simply sticking to the facts. "Yesterday you didn't take out the garbage." "It often seems to rain on the weekend." Much less drama, right?

WHAT IF? - I am referring, here, to the tendency to catastrophize. There are people who are constantly worrying about things that could possibly happen. Some examples of these kind of thoughts are:

  • What if I lose my job

  • What if I get sick

  • What if I can't pay my bills

  • What if my partner leaves me

These scenarios can seem all too real for the people who are experiencing them. It can be like a car radio that is stuck and cannot be turned off. This kind of "what if" talk is typical of people with anxiety. "What if" kidnaps you out of the present moment and holds you captive, preventing you from recognizing all the blessings and positive experiences you are having right now. "What if's" can be paralyzing and rob you of joy and satisfaction.

Alternatives to "What if" talk: A solid grounding in the present moment can change "what if" to "what is". This is what is, and I am beyond grateful for what I have. It can be helpful to tell yourself that you don't have to believe everything you think.

IF ONLY - "If only I had enough money to buy a new car", "if only I could get a 10% raise", "If only I could move to a different city." There is a ring of helplessness to this phrase. The assumption is that the power to do whatever it is you are saying you want, lies beyond your ability and control. It is almost like you are waiting for some kind of magic to intervene and bring to pass what you are pining for.

"If only" speech also places happiness just outside your reach. "I would be happy if only".....Unfortunately the pursuit of happiness can be a fickle quest. The goal posts always seem to be moving. What was supposed to be the ultimate stepping stone to guarantee happiness quickly became "old news" and you were once again on the treadmill of "if only".

Alternatives to "If only": This requires a similar response to "what if" thinking. Become firmly grounded in reality and accept feelings of discomfort and uncertainty. Saying, "even if I don't get my new job, I will make the best of the life I have right now."

CONCLUSION: “Language creates reality. Words have power. Speak always to create joy.” Deepak Chopra

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Dec 30, 2023

Good post,I am going to write these words out and put them on my fridge……life and me will have a great 2024, thank you for being a part of that. Blessings and joy to you, Grace.

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