Seven Words to Drop For More Empowerment

Pop quiz:  how often do you catch yourself saying these seven words:

  1. Should
  2. Hate
  3. But
  4. Try
  5. Broke/Poor
  6. Yes (always)
  7. Never

If you’re a repeat offender, you could be blocking the flow of more positive energy into your life.  The repetitive use of these words sets up unconscious blocks.  Let’s take a closer look.


Whether you use this word on yourself – or with others – you’re immediately creating expectations.

“Shoulds” often set us up for self-sabotage – or impose guilt.  “I should, he should, she should” is a dismal chorus of judgment.  Here are some healthier substitutes:

  • I choose to
  • My intention is
  • You may want to look at
  • Here’s a suggestion

Instead of fueling the fire for resentment to grow if expectations aren’t met, think about reframing.  Let people be responsible for their own actions – and don’t “should” on them – or yourself!


With the polarizing views in our country and around the world, differences are emphasized.  It’s a new year now, though, and you have the opportunity to turn things around – at least in your own mind.

You’d be surprised how many times this poisonous word comes up in normal conversation:  “Don’t you just hate this cold weather?”  This statement might seem harmless, yet it literally puts a damper on things.

To “hate” something is one of the top pieces of language that fuels drama addiction, according to author Sarah Prout, and prompts a person to seek out negative subjects to use as conversational pieces.  Enter that downward spiral.


One of the biggest lessons I ever learned was to look at how damaging this word can be.   I had an instructor who challenged us at the beginning of a weekend seminar to eliminate the use of this word.  She listed our names on a whiteboard and put a mark beside our names every time we used the word.

I can still hear her saying, “Five bucks.”  Every time we used ‘but,’ we were charged five dollars.  Needless to say, most of us were running up quite a tab!

So, what’s the big deal?  Every time you use the word, ‘but,’ in a sentence you discount everything you’ve said up to that point:

  • I’d like to go, but …
  • She seems like a nice person, but …
  • I really like his idea, but …

Our brains hear the ‘but’ as a major objection, and it’s as if the rest of the sentence is a lie.  You don’t come across as credible.

Light bulb idea:  substitute the word ‘and.’  It’s a neutral connector that bridges the phrases together and leaves possibilities open.  It seems a little stilted at first.  Trust me, though.  Every time you use ‘and’ instead of ‘but,’ you’re creating new neural pathways.  And you won’t be shutting yourself – or others – down:

  • I’d like to go, and I’ll need to check on some things first
  • I really like his idea, and I’ll need to see if that could work


Try is the king of weasel words.  When your friend says she’ll “try” to meet you next week for lunch, how confident are you?  If a co-worker says they’ll “try” to take on that new project, how inspired do you feel?  How ‘bout those promises that the kids will “try” to visit more often – or that the grandkids will “try” to clean up their rooms?

Suggested substitutes:

  • I’ll take a look at that and let you know
  • I have another commitment and won’t be able to make it this time
  • That just doesn’t work for me right now – thanks, though

As the great philosopher from Star Wars, Yoda, says:  “Do or do not.  There is no try.”


When you continually express that you don’t have enough money, the likelihood is this pattern will continue.   Any thought you think over and over – and attach strong emotion to – will result in a belief for you.  And then it gets wired into your brain – yikes!

While it can be tricky to state a positive thought in this realm – especially if you’ve been in dire straits — you may want to think about abundance in other areas of your life, rather than actual money.  When you’re grateful for what you DO have, it takes the sting out of what you DON’T have.

And gratitude is the fastest gateway to greater prosperity:

  • I’m open and receptive to all life offers me
  • I’m attracting more prosperity and abundance into my life
  • I’m worthy of making more money
  • I release all negative energy around money
  • I am a magnet for money

Think about prosperity and abundance in all areas of your life – with relationships, your health, etc.  Not just cold hard cash.

I play a little game all the time.  Whenever I find a penny on the pavement, I pick it up and state an affirmation,  “I give thanks for prosperity and abundance in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” This also works well when you receive a check, a great health report or good news of any kind.  Plus, it’s fun and playful.  You begin to look for reasons to be grateful.

Yes (always)

Are you a people pleaser?  You say “yes” to every request because you don’t want to rock the boat?  Or risk the possibility someone won’t like you?

Now’s the time to step back and stake your claim for more balance in your life – without offending others:

  • My bandwidth is pretty low right now
  • That just won’t work for me
  • Check back with me another time

Believe it or not, these are neutral statements that won’t alienate those around you.  In fact, you may even find you get more respect!


Never say never.  It’s the fastest way to close off the valve of possibilities flowing into your life.

Of course, you need to set healthy boundaries.  You just don’t know what the future may hold.   So, why limit yourself?

Clean it Up

When you clean up your conversations – inside your own head and outside with others – you feel more complete and empowered.

Try it.  No, scratch that.

DO it!