12 Common Phrases That Keep Us Down—and How to Change Them



We’ve all been guilty of repeating phrases or sayings without really thinking about the meaning. It’s just a “saying” right? You don’t mean it literally, so what’s the harm?

Consider this quote from Buddha: “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” In other words, the mind controls your physical body and your experiences. Your words give vibrations from the voice box that vibrates with the universal field of pure potentiality to then create your experiences.



Remember, the subconscious becomes programmed by your words and the words around you. When communicating to the universe, speak as though every word counts for future manifestations. The universe wants to give you the experiences you desire.

These 12 phrases pop up often. You might have some of your own that aren’t included here. Use this guide to help change the way you speak; it could have a profound impact on who you become.

My Head (Back, Neck) Is Killing Me

When you use these killing me-type phrases to describe pain or discomfort, you’re manifesting death. This doesn’t mean you’ll die tomorrow just because you used those words. However, continued speech like this does take its toll.

When a part of your body hurts, use more accurate words. That is the reality and truth of the now. “Killing me” is a future statement. I have transitioned from using “killing me” to “this hurts” to now saying, “I am healing my ______.”

I’m Broke

This phrase (or ones similar to it) programs your subconscious to believe that a financial burden is normal. It not only affects your ability to make money, it can create resentment towards your life, job, and those who do have more financial means.

You’ll also be viewed as a financially unstable person. Another person’s opinion about you doesn’t really matter. The problem is you’re encouraging other people to agree with how you see yourself.

Analyze why and when you use this phrase. Is it because you don’t have the money or that you choose not to spend it? It’s okay to tell a friend you don’t want to spend money on a particular activity or material object. It’s also acceptable to say you’d rather use your money for something else. Don’t be afraid to just say no; you don’t need an excuse.

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If you do have money problems, you don’t need to share that information with everyone around you. Speak truthfully about your situation with a financial or credit adviser, lawyer, physician or anyone who can provide professional guidance. For everyone else, try these sentences instead:

  • I am in a transition period in my life and looking for a new way to provide for myself.
  • The universe is guiding me to a new financial adventure.
  • Although I am rich (in heart, mind, and health) I’m currently seek new outlets for money.

I Am __________ (Circumstances)

Don’t allow your nationality, religion, where you grew up, or your childhood define who you are or your boundaries. By saying, “I am” in a limiting manner you’re creating boundaries for your potential and happiness.

Make the transition by only talking about your circumstances in positive ways. For instance, “my childhood taught me perseverance or how to handle challenges.” Once you’ve moved beyond these negative statements and instead see the benefits of those circumstances, try these:

  • I am divine.
  • I am ________. (Insert goal here)
  • We are one.

I’m Starving!

Ask yourself how saying this phrase affects you and the world around you? If we are one human, one earth, and one environmental unit on this planet, what I am manifesting?

How would someone who is starving feel if he or she heard me make such a statement? Try replacing this with a more accurate description such as “I am hungry.” Another alternative might be, “It is time to nourish the skin I’m in.”

I Don’t Have Time

This is a big lie that humans tell themselves and others. You have the time; you choose to use it in other ways. What is important to you? What you decide to spend most of your day doing is what you value.

Consider the quantum mechanics perspective of time and the fact that it doesn’t actually exist. It’s a measurement, like a ruler. This knowledge in itself might give you a new perspective on the saying “I don’t have time.” Replace this phrase with, “I choose not to take the time.”

I Hate My Job

Negative comments don’t produce positive results. Saying “I hate my job” goes even further; it’s a negative outlook on what you spend the vast part of your day doing. Using this phrase to describe a job that provides for you and your family shows a lack of appreciation to the company that pays you, yourself for putting in the energy, and the universe.

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If you continued to pay someone to mow your lawn but they complained about it every time, what would your reaction be? Don’t expect the universe to look at your negative attitude any differently. Maybe it’s not your dream job, but maybe at one point in your life it was. In the U.S., we seem to have this idea that we grow up, get a job, and stay there. Embrace change and consider these phrases instead:

  • I appreciate what this job provides.
  • This job is a stepping stone to finding my Dharma.
  • I choose to work here because ________.

I Am Too Old

The human spirit is timeless and holds no age. Limitations are those that you place upon yourself; and age is the excuse you have chosen to use.

Maybe it’s something new and you’re afraid you won’t be able to do it your first time. What would you tell a youngster in that same scenario? Would you tell them to practice or to give up?

Your courage to try new things as you age has an impact on the younger people in your life as well. Keep learning, growing, trying new activities.

Try to replace the phrase “I’m too old” with “because I am out of practice it may take me a few tries” or “I’m not as young as a used to be, but I am alive!”

‘They’ Don’t Want People to Get Ahead

Even if you’re someone who is informed about the agendas of governments and big business, it doesn’t mean you should let these thoughts take over.

A mantra that can be helpful is “only I have the power of my manifestations.” Research is great. However, conducting research or watching and reading news that creates these thoughts should be done in moderation.

I Can’t  

These two little words can become a default response any time we’re not interested in trying a new experience or don’t have time. The next time a friend asks you to lunch or to try a new activity, state your reason why you’re choosing not go on that particular date or ask for a rain check. Friends don’t want excuses. Try saying something such as “I can have lunch next week.”

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If it’s a physical activity, business goal, or income level you might have trouble achieving, talk about what you’re willing to do, instead of using the phrase “I can’t.” The words “I will” are more powerful than “I can’t.”

I’m Too Fat/Skinny 

Maybe losing or gaining some weight would make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. That’s OK. Remember that self-hate comes in many forms, and weight is high on the list.

Rephrase to create better results. Put the scale in the trash and go by how you feel. Acknowledge when you feel good—almost weightless as if your body isn’t too heavy or too light.

At the point of a conversation when you might typically say the more negative statement, try this instead: “I don’t yet feel comfortable” or “My body is in transition, I am currently conquering that goal.”

I’m Not Looking Forward to Monday!

Is it really Monday that you don’t like? Maybe you simply stray too far from your typical schedule on the weekend and Monday seems daunting as a result. You may even like Mondays, but you’ve heard others say it so often that you adopt it as well.

If you say this because of your workload try this instead, “I would like my weekend to be longer” or “It would be nice to be paid to work from home one day a week.”

Remember that each day is a blessing. Cursing any day with opportunity for life experience doesn’t reflect appreciation.

Ugghh—That Makes Me Sick!

This phrase is used often, and usually it’s a situation that won’t literally make the person sick. A bad smell or news of a human or animal being treated badly can evoke this kind of response. Try these alternatives:

  • That makes me feel out of balance.
  • I feel sad or upset.

Changing these phrases might take a little. Be persistent and soon you’ll notice positive changes in your life as well as the behavior of those around you. 


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