Have you ever caught yourself beginning a statement, particularly when asked your opinion about something in school or business, with “Well, I just think” or “I don’t know, I mean” or “It’s just”. Odds are, even if you don’t realize it, you use this type of language a lot – especially, statistically speaking, if you’re a woman. To quote the movie Finding Neverland, “What a horrible word. Just.”
Sometimes, we use those misnomers because we really have no idea what we’re talking about. They’re stalling mechanisms until we can figure out what the hell we’re trying to say. But other times, we’re actually subconsciously belittling our own opinions. Saying “I just think” is sort of like saying “Little old me? I suppose I have a thought. It’s probably not any good, but here it is.” If you’re actually uncertain about what you’re trying to say or what you really think, then using those words is understandable.
But what about when you know what you mean? What about when you know what you think, but you’re afraid you’re wrong. Or you’re afraid to be the one person in class who actually cares about the discussion. Or the person in the meeting who has an opinion that could be unpopular, or could be considered out of line for your position? What if someone asks what you think about something, and you’re afraid to look like you care too strongly?
That’s when “just” becomes the enemy.
Your thoughts and opinions are valid – personally and professionally. Don’t do yourself the disservice of using invalidating language. You deserve respect for sharing what’s on your mind, as long as it’s done in a respectful way. Your voice matters, even if sometimes you think it doesn’t. The truth is that you can be heard very easily. But to be listened to when it counts? That takes a voice that speaks with confidence and conviction.
After all, you’re not “just you”. You are you.