Sometimes put ourselves down without realizing. Often it’s so subtle that we don’t notice we are doing it (or the effect it has on us).
We either make assumptions that devalue ourselves, don’t know what we are fully capable of, or don’t give ourselves enough credit (or any credit at all) for our talents, effort, or actions.
Usually, we put ourselves down with the words that we use.
Words and the way we use them can be extremely powerful, so it’s important that we choose our words wisely. This can involve our self-talk (the stuff that goes on inside our heads) as well as the words we speak out loud to other people.
Here are 5 ways we put ourselves down or devalue ourselves without realizing it.
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I’m just a…
I was guilty of this one for many years. I found myself using one particular phrase when talking about my work.
Here it is – I’m just a secretary.
You can actually tell how old this phrase is by the wording itself since the word secretary is hardly ever used anymore. It’s more personal assistant or executive assistant nowadays.
I am sure a lot of people are doing this one without being aware. The harmful word in this statement isn’t the job title itself – it’s the word just. The word just (in this particular context) implies that what we do isn’t as important as what other people do – which of course is completely untrue. I’d like to see half the companies I’ve worked for over the years survive without their personal assistants!
Of course, the other problem with the word just is that it implies that we are one-dimensional.
We are never just one thing. We are certainly not just about what we do for a living. We are all far more complex and intriguing than that.
If you ever find yourself thinking – I’m just a cleaner, just a stay at home mum, just a student, just a beginner – it’s time to take stock and reevaluate your true contribution and fully understand exactly what you bring to your surroundings, your work and to the world at large.
Know your worth and improve your self-talk with these related posts –
- Know Your Own Worth
- Don’t Let Anyone Else Define Your Worth
- 3 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Positive Self-Talk
- The Truth Behind the Negative Voice in Your Head
- Pau Close Attention to Your Inner Dialogue
But it’s easy for me…
One of my best friends works in finance. She’s a smart cookie. Some of the deals she puts together are extremely complex, yet she finds the logistics of it all quite easy because of the way her brain works.
What she often takes for granted is that a lot of people’s brains don’t work that way and find it all very confusing.
Instead of believing that she is incredibly talented in her field, she just casually brushes it off as something simple. She doesn’t appreciate how smart and talented she truly is.
If you struggle in this area, it’s time to do a review of your skills, talents, and knowledge base and give yourself the credit and respect you deserve.
I could never do that…
This one is not so much putting yourself down – more holding yourself back because you have a self-limiting belief that you are holding onto.
I hear this one a lot when I talk about traveling by myself. Often I could never do that is people’s first response.
This isn’t one of those moments where I’m going to say you can be anything or do anything you want because let’s face it – that’s not true. I might want to be a supermodel but that ain’t going to happen any time soon for a bucket load of reasons.
The most likely reason you are going to think that you can’t do something is that you don’t have enough confidence or that it’s something that you have never done before. Often it’s a bit of both – people lack confidence in things they have never tried.
I think with this one, I could never do that sometimes comes from a place of – I don’t want to do that.
Not wanting to do something is fine as long as you aren’t saying no to every opportunity that comes your way. You gain confidence and have fun by trying new things, so make sure you put yourself out there and give things a shot!
Instead of saying I could never do that say – I did it and had a total blast!
It’s nothing really…
This is where we often downplay our achievements by thinking or saying that what we did wasn’t really all that important or special.
People can sometimes do this when they don’t want the attention that success can bring. They might love doing the work, achieving something, or helping someone out but have a hard time taking credit for it or promoting their work or actions.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with being humble, we need to make sure we are not putting ourselves down when we shy away for attention for a job well done.
It doesn’t matter…
Again this one is a devaluing situation. People will often discount themselves by saying their opinion doesn’t matter.
This could stem from a fear of having their idea rejected or ridiculed or not having the confidence to speak up and express themselves. It might have nothing at all to do with a lack of confidence and more to do with having trouble verbally expressing their brilliant idea.
Expressing themselves can be particularly hard for introverts if they are surrounded by a group of excited extroverts all trying to get their point across!
The important thing to remember is that your opinion does matter.
Perhaps you need to look at a different way of getting your point across. If talking in a busy meeting freaks you out, perhaps sending a well-written email expressing your ideas could be useful.
Don’t let a difficulty in expressing yourself stop you from contributing.
Don’t let these put-downs sabotage your success. Recognize them and work at eliminating them from your vocabulary. No more putting yourself down without realizing it.
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