This week I was talking to a lady who works with very sick people about giving Reiki and she said to me. “I only do 5 or 6 sessions a week and I just do it where I work, I don’t do it anywhere else.”
I had to stop her there and point out what she had done. In her use of language, in saying “only” and “just” she had undermined her contribution (which is amazing by the way). She doesn’t “only” do 5 or 6 Reiki sessions “just” where she works, she gives additional care with Reiki to 5 or 6 very sick people every week, on top of all her other responsibilities’ and makes a huge difference to them.
By removing the “only” and “just” from the sentence I saw her going from feeling like she should be doing more to being proud of her contribution.
It’s really not uncommon for us to downplay ourselves with our language – most of us do it on a regular basis. The first problem with that is that most people take what you say at face value, so if you’re saying what you’ve done, need or contribute isn’t important, that’s what they’ll think, even if they don’t say so. The second problem is that you are listening to what you say, if you’re saying what you do is not enough, or that you are not enough, soon enough you’ll believe it.
I’m not saying you need to exaggerate and big yourself up, but don’t sell yourself short either.
Often we do it with our jobs. “I just work in a supermarket/collect the rubbish/answer the phone.” There is no “just” about it, if someone is paying you to do that job, trust me, it’s important and it adds value. We’ve seen in the news recently how much trouble it causes when bins go unemptied. People would be very upset if the next time they went shopping there was nothing but a broken carrot on the floor and a dented tin of beans left to buy…and no one there to sell it to them. Getting support with whatever service has gone wrong would be a damn sight harder if no one answered the call when we rang the 0800 number.
You need to start actively listening to what you are saying about yourself and correct yourself, out loud, when you slip into using words like “just” and “only”. Such as “Sorry, no, I didn’t just stop them crossing the road, I stopped them stepping out in front of a bus.”
Listen out to other people are saying as well and do them a solid by encouraging them to correct themselves too.
All it takes is noticing what you are saying, and correcting it.
You’re maybe thinking that these are such small words and it doesn’t really matter. It does matter. What you say about yourself comes from how you feel about yourself and if you change one you’ll change the other. Don’t wait to feel great about yourself, talk your way into it.