Discover how when we speak if and when we are improve or damage our self-confidence.
There are two words that we use daily that impact our level of confidence. Both words are small words with each having only one syllable. While one of these two words has 4 letters in it, the other only has two letters.
I am talking about when and if.
When we speak either of these two words into a sentence, we are either boosting our self-confidence or damaging it.
Let’s say you are talking to someone about getting a job and you say, “if I get this job…”. Although that might be considered a realistic statement, it also has the potential of giving yourself a dose of self-doubt. Self-doubt can, and often does, contribute to low self-confidence.
When you use the word “if” you are speaking from a position of weakness, not strength. “if” is a weak word because if does not show that you have confidence in what you speak after that small word.
To speak confidence into yourself we need to change “if” to “when”.
Let’s replace the “if” in our job statement with “when” and see how it changes everything.
“When I get this job…”. The word “when” gives us the belief that getting the job is possible. The word “when” not only gives us hope, it also can help us feel confident in getting the job and that confidence will help us feel more self-confident about ourselves.
At this point you might be saying “I get it, if is a negative word while when is a positive word and we should always speak positive words over ourselves to grow our self-confidence”. I would respond by saying you are mostly right.
I am a big advocate that we should always speak positive words over ourselves to grow our self-confidence. In the example of the conversation about getting a job, you would be correct that when is a positive word (or at least more positive than if) and if is a negative word, but there are times if is positive thinking and when is not.
Let’s say you are fighting to regain your ability to walk after a incomplete spinal cord injury. You are in physical therapy. Your therapist asks you to use a walker and walk from point a to point b and turn around and walk back to point a.
Don’t say to yourself, “when I fall, I will just get back up and try again”. In this case you are speaking of a lack of confidence in your ability to walk. That lack of confidence you just spoke over yourself will not only increase your risk of falling in the short term, but it will also damage your self-confidence in the long term.
Instead say to yourself “If I fall, I will just get back up and try again”. In this case you are speaking with confidence in your ability to walk. This confidence you just spoke over yourself will not only increase your odds or walking at that moment, but it will also be a building block for your self-confidence in the long term.
Why does the choice of our words matter? Because what we speak, we also hear and our mind is more likely to believe what we say because our mind views us as a credible and knowledgeable source.