Photo of a poster saying don't believe everything you think
You can talk yourself into thinking some of the worst things about yourself . Stop it!

Change your life: Watch your language

8 December, 2014

What kind of image do you portray to the outside world? Many factors combine to define how we appear to others: how we dress, our body language, our posture, our attitude.

Another factor which determines how others perceive us is the way we speak. Not only the tenor or strength of our voice, but the language we use.

Some people really let themselves down by using unassertive and self-deprecating language. Phrases like: “Oh trust me to get that wrong” or “I’m really hopeless at …. ” or “Don’t ask me to do ‘x’ – I’m bound to mess it up … ” give a very clear message about your view of yourself and your abilities.

“Take your life in your own hands and what happens?  A terrible thing: no one to blame.” –  Erica Jong

Self-deprecation is a very ‘British’ thing to do – to make light of your abilities and achievements. But while it’s great to be able to laugh at yourself and not take things too seriously, it should never be at the expense of your self-confidence.

If we want people to take us seriously, and to see us as a competent person, it’s really important to exude a confident persona (even if we don’t always feel it!) and part of that is NOT putting ourselves down in front of others. In fact, don’t put yourself down ever – most especially to yourself.

So here’s an experiment: For the next week just NOTICE each time you use – or are about to use – self-deprecating language. Count the number of times you do it. Then make a conscious choice to stop. If it’s an old, ingrained habit, it may take a while to break, but it’s really worth it.

You are fantastic, capable, wise, creative, clever, powerful and strong. Don’t let your language say otherwise.


  • Annabel Sutton is a Professional Certified Coach and Author.  She has lived in Los Angeles and Indonesia; survived earthquakes and riots, lived with head-hunters and enjoyed a portfolio career.  She now enjoys a somewhat quieter life in Somerset!  Her latest book, 52 Ways to Transform Your Life (Weekly Wisdom for Busy People), contains 52 inspiring, quick-to-read life tips and is available from . Find more information at