Language influences how we behave, react, and perceive the world around us. Words contain meaning and meaning can be nuanced depending on where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing. How we talk about a person or situation can influence how we see those things, both negatively and positively. Words are powerful and should be used carefully.
Studies show that one negative interaction has more of an impact on us than four positive interactions; basically, it takes 75% more positive words and actions to make up for one negative word or event. We internalize negativity, and yet rarely do we really sit down and appreciate the positives in ourselves and in our lives.
Negativity can affect us, even if we don’t realize it. We can have toxic friends, co-workers, or family members who make us irritable, anxious, or suspicious because of their negative impact on our life. Unfortunately, we can also contribute to the negativity in the way we talk and act.
Not all negative feelings are bad, though. Humanity has survived because we have trusted our gut and our emotions that lead us to danger or harm. The bad things in life can have the ability to kill us, which is why so many languages have negative words in common with one another.
The way we talk about ourselves and our lives has a huge impact on our emotions. Here are seven negative words that you should watch out for in your life, as they can contribute to feelings of loss, disapproval, negativity, and sadness.
Watch where you are using this kind of language to see how words could be influencing your mood, perception, and behavior.
- When asked what’s wrong, too many of us reply ‘nothing’ because we don’t want to talk about what is bothering us. We cover up our true emotions for a variety of reasons- we don’t want to start a fight, or we don’t want someone else to worry about us. Nothing is never nothing, though- nothing can lead to a whole lot more negativity than you want to sign up for. Be open and honest with your partner, friends, and family when something is indeed on your mind.
- Fear is natural in all of us. Fear keeps us out of dangerous situations. However, feelings of fear can exhaust our bodies when we are constantly worrying about our jobs, our health, relationships, finances, and other live stressors. Worry as a by-product of fearing the unknown can have desperately negative consequences.
- We refer to things as a battle, or talk about the end of something as its death. While these are just metaphors, they also pack a big linguistic punch. We attribute so much more meaning by calling something the ‘death of’ rather than the ‘end of.’ By removing this word from your vocabulary unless you’re using it literally, you can lessen the drama surrounding mundane life events.
- I can’t. We all participate in negative self-talk. We tell ourselves we can’t do things, and by telling ourselves we convince ourselves that we aren’t capable. By not believing in ourselves, we give other people the space to not believe in us, either.
- Our negative actions or behaviors can be on a feedback loop in our brains, constantly reminding us of when we have disappointed ourselves or other people. Practice giving yourself some grace- learn from your mistakes, and move on. Rather than expressing your negative moments, learn how to ask for what you want and need in a positive light. You’ll be surprised at how many people will respond to this method.
- We quit relationships, jobs, hobbies, and personal goals because we are afraid we won’t be good enough. By quitting, we’ve already failed ourselves and those around us. Instead of giving in to the urge to quit, take another step forward. Line your path to success with supportive friends and supportive, positive thoughts from yourself.
- No comes from the little voice in the back of our heads that says we can’t do things, and that we’ll never succeed. By eliminating this form of negativity in our own lives, we give ourselves the power to thrive despite of the negativity around us.
By reducing the number of negative thoughts you have during the day, you increase the power of positivity in your life. Do what you can to retrain your brain to think positively and give yourself the support you need to thrive.