Entering the room, Sally glances around but recognizes no one.
No one. Not. One. Person.
Sighing, she thinks “Great. Now I have to come up with small talk.”
Sally works her way into the room, smiling, nodding, but continuing to move, making her way to an unoccupied table. As she gets settled, a lovely young woman walks over, notices Sally’s tag, and asks,
“Are you on staff here?”
“No, I’m just a volunteer,” Sally replies.
“Just a volunteer? Where did that come from?” Sally mentally questions, wishing she could take it back.
We’ve all been there. Awkward situations. Not sure what to say.
Do you listen to how you refer to yourself?
- Just a stay-at-home mom
- Just a volunteer
- Just a student
- Just an amateur
- Just an admirer of but I couldn’t do it
- Just shy
Recently, I heard this qualifier come out of my mouth during a conversation. As soon as I heard it, I thought, “Why did I need to add ‘just’?”
And then it occurred to me: I felt insecure.
But that’s not the worst of it. I realized I say this often. Frequently. More than I should.
Using “just” to describe myself, or my actions diminishes me. It makes me sick — in my mind and heart by piling on disbelief.
This little, seemingly innocent qualifier destroys my confidence slowly over time, wilts my spirit, and bolsters my mind’s erroneous belief that I’m somehow less than the person with whom I’m speaking.
So I’ve made a resolution, even though it’s not January: I’m eliminating “just” from my vocabulary.
- Just demeans. When I use “just” in front of a skill or talent or responsibility, I’m effectively saying “it isn’t important enough for you to waste your time on me.” I’m saying that I’m not good enough to spend my time on what is important.
- Just degrades. This little, seemingly innocent qualifier places me in a “less-than” position. It says, “I’m not qualified.” Or “I’m not in your league.” It says in effect, “Don’t pay any attention to me.”
- Just damages. Placing myself verbally into this position of “just”, damages my ability to use healthy self-talk. Repeated use of this qualifier eventually trains me to believe my own negative-speak. My mind begins to believe that I truly am not worthy to be considered nor do my opinions matter.
Think about the words you use to describe yourself to another. Would you use those same words to describe your friend?
Why do we believe it is okay to use them about ourselves? Why do we choose to demean, degrade, and damage ourselves by using negative qualifying words?
Today, I choose again to eliminate “just” from my vocabulary. I choose to speak about myself as I would about another. Not to speak grandiosely but to speak honestly about who I am.
I want to be healthy in my whole person — heart, mind, body, and soul. To do that I have to guard the words I say to others as well as to myself.
Tomorrow I’ll have to make the same choice, and probably the next day too. Every day you and I have the choice about how we speak to ourselves.
What qualifying words do you use and why? Leave a comment below.
Let’s agree together to begin today to change our self-speak from negative degradation to positive affirmation.
Remember: Capture the extraordinary moments in the ordinariness of today.