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How Saying “But” or “I Can’t” Takes Your Power Away

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How Saying “But” or “I Can’t” Takes Your Power Away

When my daughter was a teenager, we had many discussions of how important it was how we speak about ourselves and others. Her mother was a counselor and therapist, so she had to endure a little therapy everyday. Her first ball and chain was that she was a teenager, which comes along with all the hormonal angst, social gossip, cliques and needing to fit in or at least not being excluded.

I was fortunate enough that she felt she could talk to me about almost anything (except the things I will never know about that she got away with!) and so I had many opportunities to guide her in the power of her words and negative thoughts. She didn’t have an ideal childhood, one filled with abandonment and wondering if she was really wanted by her parents. One of those lessons was how negative talk, whether it was about herself or others, could cause a domino effect of feeling less than about oneself and having the ability to crush someone else’s fragile ego with just a few snarky comments. But being her mother, I was mostly concerned about how she spoke about herself and her life.

The first serious talk I remember giving her was the damage the word “but” could do to your self-esteem and how the ego uses it to manipulate a belief that you are not the strong, independent person you want to be. When you use the word “but” in any sentence, regardless of what you are speaking of, what comes before the word but, is your higher self-directing your energy of unconditional truth, love and acceptance.

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Everything after the word but, is your ego making a judgement or assumption about your own worth or someone else’s. Your inner child and whomever you are speaking to, only hears what comes after the word but as hurt and anger will overpower self-love if it is fragile. So even if you have given a compliment in the beginning of your sentence and then take it away with a judgement statement, the damage is done.

The phrase “I can’t”, is a self-defeating statement to your inner child voicing loud and clear that you are incapable of doing more, having more or being more. You say it, you make it so. When we change that phrase to “I will” or “I can do this!”, we send a brain altering signal of power and higher self-esteem. The same goes with the spoken word of “maybe”. You have just given your power away to someone or something by putting the outcome of what you really in the outcome of the unknown. If you are not sure yet what you are going to do or how things may turn out, then put your big girl pants on and accept the fact that you don’t have all the answers and the future may not turn out the way you are planning and you have an alternative game plan. Other disempowering words are “just” and “actually”. Nothing solid to build on, just your biased opinion or judgement.

Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist and Mark Robert Waldman, a communications expert, have written a book called, “Words Can Change Your Brain.” In this book, they write, “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” When we use positive words, we can modify our brain functions by increasing cognitive reasoning and strengthening areas in our frontal lobes. In layman’s terms, you get back what you put out.

If you find yourself using negative or disempowering thoughts or words about yourself, others or any situation, you can start consciously replacing them with more positive energetic words and phrases suggested below.

  1. I will get it done somehow, someway. (Replaces, “I can’t)
  2. Bad day today, tomorrow will get better.
  3. Don’t like what she did, well I haven’t found perfect yet!
  4. You can never walk in someone else’s shoes, give them space to be an asshole. Guaranteed you have been one at some point in your life.
  5. Try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. They may be having a really, really bad day.
  6. Speak to others how you would like to be spoken to; with respect, kindness and understanding.
  7. If you get to the point where you are going to say something nasty and negative, regardless if they “DESERVE” it, take a deep breath and be bigger than your little ego is.
  8. Be kind to those with less than you. Whether it be a physical handicap, living on the street, or mental problems, remember the blessed saying; “There go I but for the grace of God.”
  9. Get rid of the OCD “Need to be right”, because SOMETIMES you’re not!

Susan Z’s Verdict

Once we accept and understand how powerful our words are and what they can create for you and also what they can take from you and others, you will find that being kind and thoughtful is much more powerful than just being right.


Considering getting a psychic reading? We have carefully screened and selected a range of gifted, compassionate psychic readers to provide clarity and new insights into your life. Online psychics available 24/7.

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