Today I came across an amazing Instagram post by a woman I greatly admire, Angela Mary. (@angelamarymagick)
In this post, she called for people to pay attention to the way we are nurturing the roots of our visions for 2019 and to cut out dead language with a list of 13 limiting words that frequent your vocabulary and present ruts in your path.
So today, I thought it would be beneficial to share the 13 words that I will be bringing awareness to, and hopefully eliminating from my vocabulary. However, I am not a perfect person. I have accepted at least that much about myself by now. So my true goal with this word list is to truly put some thought and energy behind how and when I use these words. Words are powerful tools and I do think that even limiting words can serve a purpose. By doing this activity, I am choosing to expose my own limiting words and use this as a starting point for how to develop and remove limiting words that allow me to hold limiting beliefs about myself.
If this resonates with you, I would recommend creating your own list of limiting words or beliefs and sharing it either on this blog, any of my social media feeds, message me, or write it down and burn it to symbolically release those words from your life. I would love to see and hear about your experiences!
My Limiting Words
- Should / Shouldn’t
- Never / Always
- Have To
Should / Shouldn’t
These two words were the first words to pop into my head when I thought of words I use that limit me. I am constantly talking and thinking about what I should or shouldn’t be doing and it honestly makes me feel a lot of anxiety and guilt. I tell myself I “should be doing housework” when I sit down to relax and play a game on my phone or that I “should” be further along in my career or with accomplishing every goal of my “dream life” by now. This word is one of the most frustrating words because it holds with it the belief that what you are currently doing is not correct. The moment that I call to awareness what I “should” be doing, it makes me devalue what I am actually doing and become distraught at this discrepancy between where I am and where I want to be.
This word is not one I use out loud as much, but one that I definitely use when I compare myself to others. I am constantly telling myself how everyone else is so perfect and how they have the perfect life and he perfect job or how things worked out so perfectly for them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even when things work out exactly how they are meant to, it’s still never perfect. We live in an imperfect world full of imperfect people doing the best that they can most of the time. To assume anything is perfect takes away it’s flaws and the very details that make it so truly wonderful and magnificent in the first place. As far as I’m concerned, “perfect” is overrated and I’m ready to have this word out of my mental vocabulary.
I did not want to add this word to the list. At all. Mostly because the Patriarchy is to blame for so much of the negative shit going on in today’s society and I know it to be true. However, the deep rooted belief that I have about the Patriarchy being the only problem in the world is where I get off base and allow this to become a limiting word for me. Is the Patriarchy to blame for certain things? Absolutely. But is the Patriarchy to blame for everything? Probably not. (Despite my best efforts to expose this truth.) I recently entered a bet with a good friend of mine that if I don’t say the word around him anymore, he will pay for a vacation. The bet seemed easy enough but the more I thought about my use of “The P Word” I realized that perhaps it’s not the word itself that I need to change, but the limiting belief connected to this word instead. Is there a similar word in your own vocabulary that allows you to shrug off responsibility when things don’t turn out a certain way? Perhaps do you blame the government, the president, your parents, how you were raised, your religious beliefs, anything outside yourself?
For me, the word “want” makes this list as something I want to remove in connection with the Law of Attraction. It no longer serves me to think of the things I am working towards as “wants” and so I shall be changing it. I will probably still say “Wow, I really want an ice cream cone” and that use doesn’t limit me. “Want” limits me because I believe that my desire and wanting for something has been so strong that it has knocked me into a perpetual state of wanting but not achieving. I have allowed the universe to reflect back to me a state of “want” rather than a state of abundance. Instead of remove this word, I will be restructuring its use to bring awareness to the things that I am blocking myself from. Do I want certain things so badly that it is knocking me out of alignment with them? I will focus on wanting what I already have and working toward my goals as attainable and realistic desires that will manifest in time.
Another word that I plan to still use, but be aware of how and when I use it – “won’t”. I tend to allow it to create limits for me when I think too far into the future and tell myself that certain things “won’t” workout that way or “won’t” happen for me. I want to remove the belief behind that word that allows me to see things that way. I think this word also plays into my thought loops I associate with anxiety. Becoming aware of this word will also be helpful in learning when I begin to create anxious thought patterns for various situations or events.
My grandma actually brought this word to my attention the other day and said that my grandpa tells her not to use that word anymore because she uses it too much. She has to instead say “I don’t enjoy that” or “I’m not fond of that” instead of saying she hates it. Well, I tend to take after my grandma a lot. So when I heard them talking about the word, it occurred to me that my on usage could probably be brought to my attention. All too often I allow myself to avoid certain things (situations, environments, people, etc.) because in one way or another I convince myself it includes something I “hate”.
This is a little bit of an obvious entry to the list because we all know that this word heavily implies an inability to do or be something. It’s important for me to be more aware of when I use this word. Sure, in scheduling conflicts it’s appropriate to say “I can’t be there, I have to work” or things like that. What’s not appropriate is using it to tell myself I am unable to do things when I actually can. An important note to consider is when using the word “can’t” I would like to follow it up with “yet”. Because sure, there are some things I simply can’t do… yet. It allows me to acknowledge where I am but leaves enough flexibility for me to know that with enough determination and effort, I will be able to do it one day.
Never / Always
Another one of my frequent flyer words is “never/always”. These words are another set that are connected to the anxious thought patterns I have and something that I have been working on since this was brought to my attention in therapy last year. These words allow beliefs to exist that simply aren’t true. These words create an environment where I am too rigid with myself and the expectations I place on myself and others. These words are useful when used sparingly and when it actually means something. Like when I talk about how I’ve never been to Ireland but would love to go. Wonderfully good use of the word because it describes reality, instead of creating a rigid reality without possibilities.
I can’t be the only one who’s constantly saying “that’s too hard”. This word was brought to my attention by my dear old dad! He pointed out that when I talk about my future goals and things I’d like to accomplish, I frequently describe them as “hard” which is negative. Instead of removing this word, I am planning to change the word. So instead of saying something will be too hard to tackle, I will say it’s a challenge or describe the amount of effort that will be required. This is a much more realistic way for me to destroy the limits this word creates, while still being real with myself when I am faced with tough situations.
I use this word a lot. Writers and people who watch Game of Thrones know that this word basically creates a disruption in your thought or sentence. Jon Snow did a wonderful job of summarizing it when he said his father taught him that when you say “but” everything that came before it is basically bullshit. You allow yourself to negate the initial thought and place more focus on the limitation rather than the possibility.
This is another word I have been consciously working on repurposing in how I use it. I have been putting a lot of effort into describing things that I once told myself I “have to” do as instead describing them as things I “get to” do. One phrase I love to use instead of “have to” is saying “I now have the opportunity to do xyz.” It allows me to see the monotonous activities required of me as opportunities for growth. So much of my life has turned into “opportunities” when they used to be “have to’s.”
Normal is dumb. Plain and simple. However, I still catch myself using it when I get caught up in the game of comparison. I tell myself everyone else is “normal” and I’m the outsider who’s unable to connect or be like everyone else. Coming from a chaotic and traumatic childhood, normal was always something I kept on a pedestal and told myself I wouldn’t have. Normal became the deep seeded desire to have a standard, functional family just like everyone else. I’m eliminating this word from my vocabulary because it prevents me from seeing myself and my experiences as worthy. Everything I have gone through has made me the person I am today and if I worry too much about being normal, I’ll miss all the fun along the way.
Weird goes hand in hand with normal in that it allows me to focus on the separation between self and others and pass judgement. While there are some things that happen in this life that are just plain weird, I will refrain from using this word to describe people entirely. Situations can be weird, feelings can be weird, but people (myself included) are so much more than just weird. We’re creative, eccentric, interesting, fabulous, amazing creatures that experience so much. “Weird” just allows limits to exist when they don’t need to.
That’s my list! This blog post ended up being quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but it was therapeutic to get it all out and share with you all the words I will be eliminating and changing in the upcoming year.
I would love to discuss and know about your limiting words and what you’d like to change. Don’t have 13 and only have 1? Great! Tell me anyway! I’d love to know 🙂