We all have “positive” and “negative” traits about ourselves – things we like about ourselves vs. things we don’t really like.
Accepting both sides is important for being honest with ourselves. It’s important to be aware of both your strengths and weaknesses. No one’s perfect – everyone’s a mixed bag – and recognizing that can help see ourselves with more understanding.
The main problem isn’t that people accept their weaknesses, but that they tend to focus on them and exaggerate them.
A recent study discovered how we can downplay this negativity toward ourselves by how we speak about these negative traits – and how we can describe them in “less intense” ways.
What people often do is emphasize the negativity toward themselves. We end up saying things like:
- “I’m very lazy.”
- “I’m really stupid.”
- “I’m extremely mean.”
- “I’m totally lost.”
- “I’m awfully depressed.”
The words we use to describe our negativity can be very intense. They don’t just accept a weakness, they embellish it and beat it over our heads.
We identify with the negativity in ourselves too strongly.
A better strategy is to downplay this negativity by using much less intense words. We can actively do this by saying things like this instead:
- “Sometimes, I’m a little bit lazy.”
- “Sometimes, I can be kind of stupid.”
- “Sometimes, I’m sort of mean.
- “Sometimes, I feel a little bit lost.”
- “Sometimes, I’m kind of depressed.”
It’s a small change in how we talk about ourselves, but it can make a world of difference over time.
The best part is you’re still being honest with yourself, you’re just not exaggerating the negativity or making it out to be way more serious than it needs to be.
The language we use when we describe ourselves can often become self-fulfilling. Sometimes we need to change the way we speak about ourselves before we can make a positive change.
When you downplay your negativity by using words like “sometimes” or “a little bit,” you leave more room for positivity and growth in your life.
Watch your words today, especially how you talk about yourself. When you find yourself saying something “negative,” try to find ways to describe it in a less intense way.
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