Choose Your Words Carefully – Use Empowering Words

Choose your words carefully and make your wishes known by using empowering words such as I choose to/not to or I will/won’t.  Disempowering words like “I/you can’t, “I/you have to”, and “I/you should”, send the message that you easily give away your power or you’re attempting to disempower someone else with misguided expectations.

For example, every time I find myself saying  “I should”, I ask myself am I responding to my wishes or someone else’s.  This is the formula I use:

  • Is it good for me?
  • Is it good for them?
  • Do I want to do it

If it’s not something you really want to do or you’re considering doing it because you want to please or you’re looking to get validation or acceptance, then you are responding to an unspoken expectation placed on you, your time, energy or resources.  Peppering your sentences with “should” is placing the responsibility for what you want and feel outside of yourself.

It may be that you choose dis-empowering words because you tell yourself you’re shy,  you think it’s “pushy” to assert yourself, you lack firm consistent boundaries or enough confidence to assert yourself.

If any of the above ring true, isn’t it time you stand up, speak out and free yourself of the constraints that hold you back from getting what you want?

Here are a few suggestions to begin:

  • Choose to use empowering words – Use empowering words like “I choose to/I choose not to” instead of “I have to or I should”.  When you use powerful words like these, you begin to act and feel powerful.
  • Align your verbal expressions to match your values and demonstrate the self-worth and respect you have for yourself.
  • Avoid negative self-talk and your speech won’t be peppered with doubts and limitations resulting in self- sabotaging behaviors.
  • Clearly and powerfully express your desires – If you don’s powerfully speak up, ask for what you want, you leave the door open for others to speak for you and make decisions not in your best interest.
  • Set clear and realistic expectations for yourself and others – You cannot predict what others think or do but you have complete control of your thoughts, actions and responses.

Choose your words carefully – use empowering words to express what you want, what you will do, and what you will accept. Set clear boundaries around how you spend your time and energy. If you’re not in the habit of using empowering words, it may be uncomfortable at first but with practice, you can master it.

Gladys Anderson - Life Coach, Therapist, Author


Certified Life Coach, Family therapist and Group Coaching Specialist, Gladys M. Anderson, helps nurses, teachers, social workers, therapists and other care-giving women to set limits so they have more time, more joy and more energy for self-care. Get my FREE special report: Building Strong Boundaries to Create More Breathing Space in Your Hectic Life and stay in touch with me by email for more self-care tips.


  1. Gladys
    We get into such an automatic habit of using words that are not empowering it takes a consistent vigilance to remind myself to be empowered by the words I say and more importantly the words I think.

    Not always easy but I find one of the best ways to keep empowered is to look at those people I choose to surround myself with. Are they empowering or disempowering.

    • Gladys Anderson says:

      Linda, as the saying goes – practice makes perfect. And when you practice making a choice to use empowering words, before long you begin feel empowered and will attract empowered people into your life.

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