And here they are, those three little words: JUST - BUT - QUITE
So how can they affect us so much?
When we hear the phrase ‘three little words’ we think of ‘I love you.’ Very often these are words we want to hear. As humans we all have a desire to love and be loved, it’s human nature you could say. However, there are another three little words which, when we use them, we are radiating judgement and not love to ourselves.
Let me tell you what I mean. I went to a business network meeting last week. I hadn’t been to the last few meetings because I have been very busy with work and family. As I introduced myself at the beginning, I heard myself say ‘I’m sorry I haven’t been here for a while, but I’ve just been quite busy.’ When I sat down I realised that by saying that little word ‘just’ it felt like I was justifying myself, justifying my existence to take it to extremes. I was apologising for myself, for being myself, for being! Have you heard yourself saying 'I'm just asking you..." or 'I'm just wondering if...' or 'I'm just being a bit emotional today'? What you really mean is 'I am emotional today!' Try saying it and see how it feels, you CAN take ownership of your feelings!
The other little word ‘but’ can also have this effect. Perhaps you’ve heard yourself saying ‘I’m really nervous but I’m going to give it a go.’ Or ‘it’s really difficult but I’m trying.’ How much more empowering to say 'I'm nervous and I'm giving a it go' or 'it's difficult and I'm trying my best.' Replacing 'but' with 'and' is such a simple change, but incredibly powerful.
The last of the three little words is ‘quite.’ I said that I had been quite busy, when in fact I had been very busy. Another way I was minimising my business and myself. A client said to me recently ‘I’m quite creative.’ I invited them to say the phrase again without the word ‘quite’ and the difference was amazing. When they said ‘I am creative’ they smiled and realised how different it felt. Saying this helped them own their creativity and felt proud of themselves instead of dismissive about an important part of their life.
We do this all the time, it’s become a habit, a way of talking about ourselves that is judgemental and dismissive. We also do this when talking about our feelings, as if we want to minimise the effect they might have on people around us. For example, I might say or ‘I’m quite angry about that but it’s ok’ or ‘I’m quite upset today’ or ‘I’m quite excited.’ We dismiss our feelings all too easily, when they are an important part of our life, our selves, our being. I have been catching myself use these three little words, and when I do, I say my words again without the ‘just’ ‘but’ or ‘quite’ and it makes such a difference to how I feel.
How much more positive would I have sounded, and felt, at the business meeting if I had said ‘Hello I’m Nicola, I haven’t been here for a while, I have been very busy.’ I’m explaining myself instead of excusing myself. I’m putting myself in the arena because I matter. I am me and I am here!
I invite you try removing these three little words from what you say, and notice the difference it makes to how you feel about yourself. You may even find that you can say the other ‘three little words’ to yourself.
With love, Nicola