Speech is more harmful than we think…
We’ve all said hurtful things about ourselves or others, and we often don’t realize that what we say affects our mental health. Using self-deprecating language can cause our self-esteem to plummet.
Changing our entire vocabulary isn’t easy, but here are some places to start.
Trigger Warning: Some of the phrases mentioned in this article deal with topics of suicide and other mental health disorders. Please assess your mental capability before reading further and seek help if any of the phrases discussed become detrimental to your mental health.
1. I’m so annoying
First of all, start a “drinking game” with water or your favorite juice and take a sip every time you say this (thank you Draco Rose). Stop saying you're annoying! You are amazing and passionate. If people think you’re annoying—fuck them. Replace “I’m so annoying” with “Wow, my passion for this is incredible.”
You’ll be amazed to see how your perception of yourself changes when you stop criticizing yourself.
2. I hate myself
When we make mistakes, it’s easy to say, “Ugh, I hate myself.” However, this self-deprecating talk is extremely detrimental to our mental health.
Rather than saying “I hate myself,” try a positive affirmation such as, “Wow, I’m really working toward my goals” or “Bad bitch you got this.”
Even if they seem silly, positive self-talk can drastically change the way we view ourselves.
3. I’m ugly
The standard of beauty in today’s world is fucked up. I’ve struggled for years to love the body and face I was given. When I feel down, it’s easy to say I’m ugly and throw myself a pity party. In those moments when I’m quick to put myself down, I look in the mirror and tell myself three things I love about myself. This helps me boost my confidence and remind myself how much I adore the person that I am.
4. I’m gonna kill myself
This one is very common among millennials and Gen Z. We make a small mistake and decide to say we should end it all. By using this phrase freely, we are satirizing mental health. Suicide is not a joke and shouldn't be treated like one.
5. I have such bad OCD/anxiety
On behalf of those who truly deal with OCD or anxiety, for the love of god stop saying this. Claiming you have a mental health disorder when you’re actually just being dramatic is arrogant af.
Unless you’ve been diagnosed or actually have symptoms, keep your mouth shut.
Find a new phrase. I don’t care if it’s hard, but it’s not worth undermining how difficult these struggles can be for us or devaluing what we go through. I can assure you that if you fought half our battles, you wouldn’t make those comments so carelessly.
6. Are you mad at me?
If I had a dime for every time I’ve said this, I would’ve paid off my college tuition! My anxiety often causes me to believe that people are upset with me. When my loved ones don’t answer my text messages, I usually ask if they’re mad at me. But by asking that question, I place all of us in an uncomfortable situation, as most of the time they’ll literally be sleeping, not ignoring my texts because they're pissed.
This can make someone’s mental headspace more fragile than it needs to be. Words have power. If you’re constantly vocalizing words that stem from anxiety, you’re creating an unnecessary path of flames.
In the moments when I want to ask my friends and family if I’ve upset them, I take a deep breath and ask myself if I’ve truly done anything wrong. Most of the time the answer is no. After a few peaceful breaths, I realize the situation was only ever-escalating in my own head.
7. I’m sorry
Yes, sometimes saying “I’m sorry” is warranted, but damn we need to stop apologizing for expressing ourselves!!
I have a bad habit of saying “sorry” for every little thing I do. To break this, my friends call me out and say, “Take a damn sip.”
This little consequence keeps me in check (and hydrated).
8. Why am I like this?
Bitch, you were born this way! Stop hating on yourself for who you are. Own that shit! You’re amazing. We all have flaws—that’s what makes us special! Instead of questioning yourself, take pride in your uniqueness and beauty. A little positive self-talk goes a long way.
This is one word I’m trying very hard to cut out of my vocabulary. By using the word “but” in all of our conversations, we’re undermining everything we say.
There’s no need to make excuses. Speak your truth! Any explanation needed will follow. You don’t need to contradict your beliefs to get the point across.
10. Does that make sense?
Yes it makes sense! You don’t always need to question if your words are clear.
Unless you’re explaining the volume of the ocean, skip the recap.
I assure you, whoever you're talking to understands what you’re trying to say. If they don’t, they can ask. Stop second-guessing yourself—you’re doing great!
11. It’s okay/it’s fine
Cut it the fuck out! It’s not okay, and that’s okay!
We’ve gotten into a habit of lying when things bother us by saying “it’s fine.” Doing this is detrimental to ourselves.
Speak up and advocate for yourself! You don’t have to feel okay 100% of the time.
Talk it out. By saying everything is “fine,” we are only putting more stress on our future selves.
Removing these words/phrases from your vernacular can make a world of difference to your mental health. Give yourself a break, you deserve it.
Do some positive affirmations.
Take a nice deep breath.
*If you see this speech is affecting you or someone you know, feel free to contact the following hotlines for mental support!*
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Trevor Lifeline (for the LGBTQ+ community): 1-866-488-7386
[Both numbers are free, confidential, and available 24/7.]
And 911 for any immediate emergencies
~Trust the good vibes and spread all the love,