There are at least 5 TOXIC words that hinder our ability to become self-empowered. Self empowerment means possessing the inner strength and resources to bring about a desired change in our lives. The 5 toxic words to avoid saying to ourselves are: should, ought to, need to, have to, and must. For example saying to yourself, “I should clean up this room. I ought to clean up this room, I need to clean up this room, I have to clean up this room, or I must clean up this room. That may or not have the affect on you that you desire. You may or may not clean up the room, but almost certainly you will have negatively feelings associated with it, not liberating, self-empowered feelings.
Now let's take for example you look at your horrifically unorganized room with your important papers hidden somewhere within the piles. You know that it is important to sort through the garbage, throw old mail away, and organize what you do need for efficient record keeping. Avoiding the toxic words, you might assess the situation and say, I could clean this room if I choose to put in the effort. Next, you can choose rather or not to tackle the project. Without using any of the toxic words, you can choose whether or not to tackle the project. You may also decide whether or not you want a clean room or not. You may want the room to be clean but yet you may choose not to do anything about it, but at least you are owning the problem and admitting you are making the choice. Most desirably would be to say, “I really want to have a clean room.” At this point, you may need to access the situation further and make a plan on how you will clean the room, even if that means enlisting help from others.
The words to remember are; can/could, choose to, and want to.
In promoting self-empowerment we first need to be aware when we say the five toxic words and eliminate them from our word bank. With a little effort we can rephrase the sentence to be more self-empowering helping us to feel in charge without the guilt, shame, and feelings of resentment and hopelessness.