Dangerous and limiting words that are best avoided

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Robert Maurer


Dangerous and limiting words that are best avoided

Language is at the root of thought. This is how the words used every day affect our life. 

Last update: June 10, 2022

Neurolinguistic programming helps us understand the influence of language on thought. The choice of the words we use, in fact, predisposes us to experience reality in a certain way. It is therefore important to avoid the dangerous words that limit us without us noticing.

Some commonly used expressions have a strong and not very positive conceptual value. Since we are not aware of it, however, we continue to use it. Let's see what they are and how they act on our psyche.

6 dangerous words that limit us


It is a word that, paradoxically, it tends to get us closer to the result we want to avoid. It is an ambiguous word that the mind does not register. For example, if we say to someone: “don't think of a yellow elephant”, we are fostering that image in their mind.

When we use expressions of this type, we unconsciously tend to eliminate the "no" and concentrate on the sentence that follows. For this reason, if we say "don't get nervous" or "I don't want to get sick" we are actually planning nervousness and illness.

Better to transform these statements with positive language like: "Keep calm" or "I want to stay sane".

I must

When we use the expression "I must", we are anticipating an imposed, unpleasant action or that involves effort. "I have to go to work", "I have to be more sociable", "I have to lose weight": we immediately make these actions negative and tiring.

It is better to use the formula "I want" or "I do“:“ I want to be more sociable or I want to lose weight ”. The expression "I want to go to work" would be a bit false or forced and, then, we will say "I'm going to work". With these words we plan to perform an action that is lighter or easier to carry out.

But: one of the dangerous and limiting words 

When we use the word "but" to combine two concepts, we cancel the value of the first sentence. In this way, those who listen to us will be transmitted the negative idea that we place at the end of the speech. “I love you, but we fight too much”, “I got a good grade, but I could have done better”.

To avoid this effect, we can try to replace the "but" with "even if": the message remains intact and we add another information. We can also reverse the order of the sentences: "we fight a lot, but I love you". By doing so, the message will certainly be more positive.

Poor thing

It is a word we often use to express understanding or solidarity with others or ourselves. "Poor thing, they fired you" or "Your girlfriend left you, poor thing!"

Even if we do it with the best of intentions, with this word it is not the most suitable. We program our interlocutor to feel helpless victim of circumstances. Better to replace this term with other expressions that give more power to the person who listens and remind them of their ability to move forward.

Never, always, nobody, everyone

These are dangerous words because they express a sentence, a rigid and dichotomous thought. “You're always wrong”, “nobody loves me”, “I'll never be happy”. These statements are harmful because they lead us to continue in that way, with no way out.

Rather, let's try to use words that are closer to reality and, above all, that allow room for improvement or change. "You were wrong", "that person does not love me", "today I do not feel happy": these are statements referring to isolated and not generic events that allow us to intervene to modify them.

Then, then, one day: other dangerous words

These expressions refer to time in an ambiguous way and prevent us from defining our projects. They invite us to postpone actions to an indefinite moment. “One time or another I'll go back to studying”: once when?. ”One of these days I start eating healthy“: what day?

If we really want to achieve a goal, let's avoid speaking in these terms. We set a date, an exact time to set off.

In conclusion, remember that language is the basis of thought and communication with others and ourselves. When we reason, we do it starting from precise sentences or statements. In light of this, the choice of one word over the other conditions our perception of the world.

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