Five Things You Need to Stop Saying

1. I am not ___________ enough. 



Yes, you are. Let me be clear that I am not speaking in monetary terms here. I choose to live a life that is not defined by the size of my paycheck (good thing, too, since size of said paycheck is currently zero). However, I understand that different households require (or desire) different levels of financial influx in order to feed and clothe children, pay mortgages and taxes, and otherwise operate comfortably. Here I am speaking in terms of self, or the you that defines you and the way you view yourself. So in that context, yes, you are ________ enough. You are smart enough. You are brave enough. You are pretty enough. You are strong enough. You are courageous enough. You are worthy enough. Banish the word “not” from the sentence. Say it to yourself often. Whisper it inside your head. Speak it out loud in front of the mirror. Shout it from the rooftop. I AM ENOUGH!

2. There’s plenty of time for that.



Maybe, and maybe not. Hopefully there is ample time for you to do the things you most want to do, but in reality there may not be. Let’s face it, we allow ourselves to get caught up in the business of living while forgetting to have a life. We get busy with work, school, sports practices, doctor appointments, and the like, and we push aside the things we’d like to do but don’t have time for now. We tell ourselves that there will be plenty of time for those things later, after the kids are grown, after we retire, after, after, after. But what if there isn’t time? What if reality comes crashing down in the form of accidents, illnesses, or even deaths? Suddenly there’s plenty of time turns into there’s no more time…

I choose not to have a bucket list. Instead, I have a f*** it list. A “screw conformity and conventionality” list, if you will. I have been inspired to live now, not later, by a dear friend who lost over a year of her life waging a massive war with Stage 4 abdominal cancer. Since then she does not waste a minute of her life to “laters”, but rather she lives her dreams today. Don’t wait for that magical, elusive plenty of time to show up. Go and do the things you want to do, see the things you want to see, and live the life you want to live! Take that dance class you’ve always wanted to try. Learn the second language you’ve always wanted to learn. Travel to that country you’ve always wanted to see. Do it now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. And if it turns out that there is plenty of time for that then consider it a bonus. Now you have more time to do more of what you’ve always wanted to do!


3. I’ve just been so busy! I’d love to, but I’m too busy! I wish I could, it’s just that I’m so busy! I can’t because I’m too busy!



Or any variation thereof. Forgive me if I sound a bit hostile here, but this is my absolute #1 pet peeve. These are words you will not hear me say…ever. Just typing them sets my teeth on edge, tenses up my neck and shoulder muscles, and figuratively overcooks my grits.

Let’s get real and raw and break these phrases down to their true meaning. Sure we all have busy days or busy weeks, but if you are consistently uttering any of the above then they begin to take on an entirely different meaning. What you are actually saying is, “I don’t have time for you, and I’m not willing to make time for you. I have certain priorities, and you are not one of them. You are not important enough in my life for me to spend my time on. My time is more valuable than your time.” Harsh, I know, but this is how it translates to the person on the receiving end. Please do not misinterpret me on this. I know there are legitimately busy periods in life that can be overwhelming. I do urge you, though, to banish these phrases (these excuses) from your vocabulary. Consider the damage that they do, and choose your words carefully. If you honestly don’t want to make time for someone then do them the favor of telling them what you are willing to invest, or of letting them go. The hurt it causes in the short-term may save them long-term pain and confusion.

4. I wish I could change my life, but I’m trapped.



The only thing that has you trapped is you. There is a way, and if you want to change your life you will find that way. Yes, it may well entail sacrifice, but if it leads you to where you want to be it’s well worth it. It may mean having to let down your guard and ask for help. Ask! Believe me, the right people will applaud you for asking, not shame you. It may mean learning to trust yourself. It may mean giving yourself permission to throw caution to the wind and take a great leap of faith. You may hit bumps in the road, and yes, you may even fail once or twice…or twenty times.

I have witnessed friends pick up and move away from home to pursue new career opportunities. I have watched single moms and former classmates go back to college after twenty years away from the school environment. I myself have walked away from a lucrative but personally unfulfilling career to find my own happiness. i have been inspired by the stories of others who have gone to great lengths to get to where they want to be. Your life is yours, so own it, and live it!

5. Whatever slang lingo is currently popular with teens. 



Seriously, unless you are under the age of twenty-five, don’t do it. If you are in your (early) forties, like me, it does not make you look hip to your younger friends. It makes you look just a little bit desperate, like you are trying just a little bit too hard. It does not make you look like the cool mom. It makes you look like the “Oh my god, please let me get hit by this school bus because my mom is so mortally embarrassing” mom. Fellow children of the 80s, can you imagine your parents doing this to you back in your teen days? “Wow, like, gross me out the door.” “He’s like, totally, tubular, like, ya know?” “Ew, like, gag me with a spoon, ok?” Yeah…not so much, right? Great, then let’s agree to avoid the use of totes or adorbs, shall we? Game, Set, Match!

Are there any phrases that you wish people would stop saying?  What are they? Do you agree or disagree with my list of five, and why?  Feel free to share your thoughts!  Cheers, Karen

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48 thoughts on “Five Things You Need to Stop Saying

  1. Totally agree with all 5!! As for #2, I also hear a lot of “someday” I will do that or “when I retire”. Why wait? I don’t want to be old and traveling, I want to be young and traveling! I admit, we have a someday ahead of us but it is because we are actively saving for the trip not just daydreaming anymore. Thanks for posting this! I really like #1. I need to remember that more often. Happy Friday to you!

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    • We decided to travel now, too, instead of hoping we’ll still be able to travel when we are older! We also have a “someday” as we are saving for a European vacation, but it’s a shorter-term “someday”. Thank you for reading and happy weekend! Karen 🙂

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  2. All of these, yes! But #3? Spot. On. Thank you for putting into words something that I thought I was the only one hearing on the receiving end of the chronic “I’m busy” talk!

    And practicing the “I’m enough” talk takes effort – but it is Truth. Where I am in my life journey – is enough. My efforts – are enough.

    Great post. Thank you!

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  3. Karen, this is great! I especially love #2. Oh my, this is so true. There really is not unlimited time in life. And there will come a day when there will be no time to accomplish other things. Life will be done, over. It helps me realize that what I want to get done, what I am really passionate about–DO! Get my priorities in line and really become the person I want to become. There will be a today when there is no tomorrow. Wow, looking back this sounds like a “dooms day” comment, but really it is inspirational to me!Thank you for this!

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  4. Loved reading this and so grateful for the reflections. How marvellous to read. Pet hate at this moment in time is the word ‘Hun’. In the UK everyone says ‘Hun’ ‘ok hun’ ‘Hi hun’ … I find it lazy and far too over familiar. Short for ‘Honey’, to me, it breaks through boundaries that I firmly put against any old Tom, Dick or Harry. It takes a lot to become endearing to me, sadly it takes a lot of effort on both counts to form a relationship where ‘hun’ is acceptable to me.

    I am sure I can add lots to this list but I totally agree with number two. Life is fragile and can be snatched or indeed altered at any time. After many years of unhappiness, I refuse to accept anything less than the best.

    Thanks for sharing this. Very thought provoking. X

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    • I can relate to the aversion to overly familiar endearments. I have a “personal space zone”, and the use of such terms is an invasion of that space. I’m working on letting people in, but you really have to be in before you can go there! Thank you for reading! Karen 🙂

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  5. Good post. I think I pretty much agree with those.

    #1 is nice, but I feel it is an ingrained belief on the part of the person, I happen to fall into the more negative side of it whilst you are obviously more of the positive side of it. It would be great if we could read the words and suddenly change our way of thought but it isn’t as easy as that.

    #2 I am guilty of this but reading what you said has inspired me a little to try and do more. My falldown is that I work as a contractor, I don’t get paid unless I am at work so I am very very reluctant to take time off for holidays etc, after all those bills don’t go away. But in the same token I don’t want to look may in 20 years maybe not actually able to do those things and regret them, so this is something I am endeavouring to change.

    #3 this is spot on I think.

    #4. I agree with what you say here, I know it is me and my mindset that causes the change (or lack thereof), I don’t know why I find it so difficult, it shouldn’t be, but I find it that way.

    #5, depends on the word, the examples you use are never used in the UK (not that Ive heard), I think I would substitute this with writing in text speak, (whilst not a thing I should stop saying) it is something that irritates me immensely.

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    • Thank you for the detailed and well thought out response. Perhaps I should change the title to Five Things We Need to Stop Saying, as I do definitely include myself here. While I don’t say the phrases in #3, the rest of these are easily applicable to me. #1 is by no means easy. I embarked on a journey to change myself nearly four years ago, and while the change has been great it is not complete. Every post I put out is a reminder and a reflection to myself as well as an offering to others. Best, Karen 🙂

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  6. Time is precious and we really don’t know how much each of us has. You’ve hit it on the head, and because we need to enjoy life NOW, we need to resist the “I’m too busy” set up statement. I think it sounds very dismissive and some people use it far too much. Our world needs to slow down and savor what’s happening now–in this moment. Oh, I love #1 as well. I lived way too much of my life feeling that. It’s wasted energy that leads to nowhere. I look forward to reading more of your writing.

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  7. Great reminders. I had fun reading this. On #3, it could be culturally unacceptable to say no sometimes. There are contexts which euphemisms and white lies are the appropriate way; being too direct or honest can be interpreted as rude. I’m thinking certain Asian cultures. While I advocate being honest, I have given and received the excuse in #3 – we get the point after a while. I don’t mind voluntarily distancing myself when I understand someone doesn’t make me a priority and am not too offended.

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    • That is a great and valid point on the cultural differences. I guess it is the responsibility of the receiver to “get the message” and move on, although I must admit to finding myself offended and hurt (especially if it’s someone I thought I had a genuine relationship with). Thank you for reading and for sharing your insights- you’ve opened my eyes today as well. Best, Karen 🙂

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  8. I’m guilty of the first — never feeling good, talented, or successful enough. I’ve managed to fight through those feelings but its always hard. Maybe the successful people aren’t those who never feel that way, but those who go on anyway.

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    • Hi Laurie! I have spent more time not feeling this enough or that enough than I’d care to admit. It took years to “re-train” the way I think of myself. I still have these moments, but rather than accept my self-defeatism I turn it around to a positive. Sounds like you are doing the same thing in conquering the not enoughs! Thank you for visiting and for commenting! Best, Karen 🙂

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  9. This is everything! Thank you for your kind words toward my blog, and thank you for this post! You have grasped the heart-breaking reality and meanings of what words truly hold, and your explantations are spectacularly spot on! Amazing!

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  10. This is fantastic and well-written. #2 really resonated with me; I feel like so many of my friends and coworkers are banking much too heavily on the concept of “someday,” and for a lot of people, “someday” never comes. I don’t want to die with regrets and a list of unfulfilled dreams!

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  11. This is a really great list. I especially love #3. It does have a tendency to make you look insensitive and unappreciative of others if overtly used. Its like, “ok so your sooo busy, so what”. lol.

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