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.
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.
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