It’s no news that the language we use when we interact with ourselves and others has a massive impact on our confidence. Interaction is so much more than words. It’s the exchanging of emotion, feeling, and thought. It’s the much needed connecting with another human in some shape or form.
Even though you try to avoid those awkward silences, go great lengths to avoid hurting someone, and try not to send a different message than what you intended. The language that you use could end up affecting your confidence.
I’m talking about the I-screwed-up confession with the significant other, that stressful business meeting, the sales conversation with the client you so desperately need, and that stressful talk you have with your boss when you put in your two weeks notice. It’s also about all of the things you say to yourself leading up to, during, and after those interactions.
It’s all more than words.
The thing though? Those interactions don’t have to overwhelm you. You don’t have to spend your time playing conversations out in your head before and after you have them. Because there are 7 ways that you can hack your language, own your interactions, and build real, lasting confidence.
Say what you mean
We’re all human. But when we have difficult conversations or interactions with others where the stakes are high, it’s easy to forget that. So sometimes we start posturing and putting on a facade. We say things that we think we are ‘supposed to’ or ‘should’ say. The interactions that we replay and worry about mainly revolve around the language that we use. What’s the first thing you should say? What if you say [this] and they do [this]? What if they say [this]? How will they react?
When you’re aware of and honest about what you actually want to say, you won’t have to replay or worry about your language. Because everything that you say will be right. That doesn’t mean your messages will always be received the way that you want, but you won’t regret what you said. I’m not saying be rude and inconsiderate. I’m saying that being authentic and owning your words is respectful to you and the receiver.
Everything you say comes from you. You compose the language. And the message is always coming from somewhere deeper than your mouth. Using “I” shows ownership and responsibility of what you’re saying.
“I love you” vs. “Love you”/<3
Love is powerful, as is the proclamation itself. But as the digital age has grown, we’ve thrown “love” around more without true meaning. It’s grown to be, in many cases, meaningless. Omitting the I separates that feeling from you. It’s almost in-human.
“I feel [this] about [them]” vs. “[They] are making me feel [this].”
No one can make you feel anything. You cultivate your feelings. Blaming others for what you feel puts yourself in a very helpless, victim-like position. A position that can often be difficult to get out of.
Recognize that you are feeling [whatever] about [that person/thing]. There’s no external controller that’s selecting your response to something.
“I” vs. “you/us/we”
I have used we, us, and you so far in this article. Some things are more personal, some things are more generalized. But in conversation, generalizing incorrectly can take away some of the power of what you’re saying.
Distinguish between feelings and thoughts
“I feel like” vs. “I think”
These are two different things. Sure, our thoughts can conjure emotions and vice versa. But there is a clear distinction between the two. Make sure you’re using them appropriately.
Feel Thank You + You’re Welcome
It’s common courtesy. Someone holds the door for you, and you exchange these two phrases. It’s nearly automatic. But are you really thankful for that person? Are you allowing yourself to express your genuine desire to do [that thing] for that person when you say, “you’re welcome”? Are you actually grateful?
Be aware of these interactions and allow yourself a moment to feel through your words. Along with saying “I”, this expresses ownership in your language.
Say No and Yes Honestly
Both of these words are without a doubt, two of the most powerful words we can use. And they are the most commonly used words that often stand in the way of saying what we mean. Say yes when you are genuinely accepting or agreeing. Say no when something isn’t what you want or can do. Period.
Decipher between “can’t” and “don’t want to”
Can’t is very definitive, while want is often more progressive and accurate. “I can’t do it” holds so much more power than “I don’t want to do it.” Can you actually do [that thing] but you don’t want to? Figure it out.
Forget “I don’t know”
It’s the same as “I can’t”.
“I don’t know” is often a phrase we use to get out of digging deeper and explaining something. It can sometimes come out in desperation or when we aren’t willing to engage with something. It’s another phrase that comes along with a victim mentality. It sounds hopeless and lost. It’s an immediate shut down.
It’s what Danielle LaPorte calls the “I don’t know” conspiracy. Make the switch to “I will figure it out,” because you will if you actually try.
It’s not enough to just read and nod. You have to take action on what you’re reading.
if you want to build more confidence. Do it now. Why wait?