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First of all, children need to explain themselves, adults do not.

What does this mean?

I will give you an example: Let’s say that someone invites you to a birthday party. You like this person, but in order to make it to the party you will have to rearrange a million and one things and you will be exhausted, so you’d just rather not go. But, you feel really bad about saying no, so you say something like this instead: “I am so, so sorry that I can’t make it, but I have to take my son to baseball practice, and then I have a hair appointment that I can’t reschedule because she books six months in advance, and after that my husband has to go to a work meeting, and I am so sorry, but have a great time and let’s plan to get together sometime soon.”

This is explaining yourself. Essentially, you are apologizing for having conflicting plans and you are feeling guilty for saying no.

Next time, practice implementing boundaries by using this shortened sentence: “I can’t make it. Thank you for the invitation.”

That’s it. I used to always feel the need to explain myself. Well, that opens you up to guilt and judgment. Own your decisions. Stop explaining yourself. Say no.

Stop undervaluing you

Here is another example of a sentence that you can shorten, but this time it is how we talk to ourselves. When we do something new or different, it oftentimes goes something like this: “Well, I did this new thing, but I wasn’t very good at it.”

Or: “I need improvement.”

Or: “Yeah I tried it, but I sucked.”

Or, maybe you sound more like this: “I would do that, but I tried once and I wasn’t absolutely perfect so I better never do that again.”

You are selling yourself short, and not giving yourself the credit that you deserve.

From now on, take the “but” out.

Yes, you tried it. No, it might not be perfect, but you are pretty damn awesome!

Next time, use this shortened version: “I did it!”

I know, it’s so simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, and it certainly doesn’t mean that it won’t make an impact.

Actually, yes you can

Here is one final example of a sentence that you can shorten to dramatically improve your life. Let’s say that you’ve been having trouble with your boss/friend/co-worker/family member/[fill in the blank] person and someone suggests that you confront them.

Or, maybe you someone invites you to do something new or different to get out of your comfort zone.

You say something like this: “Okay, next time, do it.”

Or: “I’ll try.”

Or: “I can’t do that.”

Remember, trying is not doing. How do you know that you can’t do that?

Shorten your sentence to this instead: “Yes, I can do that.”

Yup, it’s that simple. Limited belief is limiting relief.

Summary: 3 sentences that you can shorten right now

1 | Start setting boundaries by simply saying “No, thank you.”

2 | Give yourself full credit by taking out the “but”

3 | Become empowered by changing “I can’t because…” to “I can.”

Implement these boundaries with your words, and watch your life and your mindset dramatically improve.

This story was originally published on bridgettepetrino.com.

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