Human psychology is one field of science that helps us understand who people are and what makes them so. Personalities develop on the basis of past experiences and the sentiments attached to them.
Speaking of sentiments, even after years of analyzing human emotions, researchers haven’t reached a unanimous decision on whether there are four or six basic emotions.
Some believe anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise are the key ones; whereas others consolidate them to joy-sadness, anger-fear, trust-distrust, and surprise-anticipation. The majority of these emotions are negative in nature and hence, people are more susceptible to experiencing negative sentiments.
Language holds tremendous power, and can hurt others if misused. As rightly said by American author Robert Greene:
“The human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will turn wild and cause you grief.”
Condescending attitudes can create a psychological impact on people and push them away. By being cautious of others’ feelings and treating them with humility, you can avoid being considered a spiteful person.
In certain situations, your choice of words and phrases can be misinterpreted and cause more harm. Self-improvement books offer convincing reasons for certain behavioral patterns that can offend others and help determine how to overcome them.
Here are five negative words and phrases that one must avoid, as they hold the power to pierce through one’s self-confidence:
5 Words and Phrases You Need to Stop Using
This word depicts one of the strongest emotions that one can experience. Many people use this word loosely to express sentiments like dislike and resentment.
The word can be categorized as an extreme emotion that carries a great amount of negative energy. Taking reference from the history of mankind, hatred is often associated with heinous acts of terrorism and Apartheid.
How to Avoid Using It: Take a moment to realize that your words will hurt the sentiments of another person. This is always the first and the best step towards clearing your mind. Think of alternative words and phrases that will convey your feelings without hurting someone else.
This word depicts the feeling of dissatisfaction towards someone who might have failed to live up to their expectations. To be “disappointed” in someone can mean that you are no longer hopeful of anything good from them in the future.
According to a renowned expert in human psychology, “disappointment forces you to admit that you did not get what you wished to have, and it seems easier to protest with anger” than to face the gravity of the situation.
How to Avoid Using It: When you find yourself wanting to express your disappointment in another person’s action, try to include the reason behind your feelings.
For instance, instead of saying “I am disappointed with your choice of friends”, you can say, “I am concerned that you spend a lot of time with your friend, X. He/she has already been warned several times by the law authorities, and his/her behavior might influence you.”
3. “Control Freak”
You may admire a person’s leadership qualities, but there might also be times when you find him/her overruling others’ opinions. By calling him/her a “control freak,” you may hurt someone’s self-esteem.
Be clear that you do NOT appreciate the dominating behavior. But, the tricky part is that you need to measure your words and phrases before using them. In certain situations, light humor can also help you point out that the other person is going overboard.
How to Avoid Using It: Look beyond petty issues and change the way you perceive other people’s opinions. It may be your prejudice that makes you think that the other person is dismissing your views.
Arguing will seldom work in such situations. Instead of saying, “You are a control freak”, you can say, “There’s no denying that you are wonderful in most situations, but in this specific context I find that you are trying to impose your opinion. Can you possibly control this tendency?”
4. “Never Mind”
This phrase can be interpreted as “you’re a failure” and questions one’s capabilities. To be told that you are NOT as good as others, hints that you need to up your game. Your words can make the other person feel ignored and belittled, and offend his/her feelings.
You are being dismissive when you brush someone off by saying “never mind” to them. Rationalize your thoughts. Analyze them and then determine if you want to convey that the other person is not capable of grasping the gravity of the situation.
How to Avoid Using It: Regardless of the situation, being condescending towards the other person is NOT a great way to express yourself.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think how you would feel if someone dismissed you for no reason. Acknowledge those feelings and avoid dismissing or patronizing what the individual is saying.
This word carries a deeper meaning that is often neglected by people. It is often used by higher authorities to describe subordinates, who they think lack the ability to assume certain responsibilities. When you refer to a person as incompetent, you are also questioning his/her upbringing, values, and knowledge.
In a corporate scenario, “incompetence” denotes the inability of an employee to do a job to a satisfactory standard. Managers and leaders need to motivate their team members to increase their productivity – NOT discourage them.
How to Avoid Using It: If you face a situation where you are unhappy with a person’s contribution to a task, avoid using extreme words like incompetent or incapable. Instead of saying that he/she lacks certain skills, ask him/her how else they can contribute or help out.
One of the salient features of living in a peaceful society is acceptance. We are surrounded by people of different backgrounds and diverse personalities. While everyone is free to express varying thoughts and opinions, it shouldn’t be at the expense of others.
Knowing which words and phrases might be hurtful will help us steer clear of them – before we offend or hurt other people.