You’ve probably heard the phrase “communication is key,” but how often do you think about it? Whether we like it or not, how we communicate with others heavily impacts our lives. And as women in a still heavily patriarchal world, we face additional scrutiny for our language.

“In our society, women are taught from a very young age that our worth is based on external validation, acceptance, and belonging. Pair that with ever-present messages from a society that glorifies all things masculine and vilifies, minimizes, and infantilizes all things feminine, and you get an impossible scenario of being stuck between a rock and a hard place for women to operate ‘correctly,’” says holistic life and career coach and founder of Inclusive Leadership Collective Nikki Innocent.

Does that mean we should completely change the way we speak? Do we need to talk “more like men”? Not quite. But there’s something to be said about altering our language a bit. Not because men criticize it, but more to remind ourselves and one another that we are worthy of existing and taking up space as much as anyone else.

The following list of phrases women should stop using are not ways to continue to criticize gendered language. It is a reminder that we (as women and mothers) are much more deserving, accomplished,  interesting, and worthy than the world might sometimes tell us we are. We spoke with several experts to get their ideas on this complex issue and how we can ensure our voices are heard as loudly as anyone else’s.

Phrases Women Should Stop Saying

1. “I am sorry.”

How often have you apologized for things that were your fault and also not your fault? Or for things that had no one to blame? Or for simply existing? I know I’m guilty of this far too often, but experts agree we need to save this one for only when necessary.

“There are two times that women should say ‘I am sorry,'” says Eliza VanCort, transformation teacher and author of A Woman’s Guide to Claiming Space: Stand Tall. Raise Your Voice. Be Heard. The first is when they have done something wrong, and the second is when a task goes awry because they should have asked for help but didn’t. According to VanCort, apart from those two situations, apologizing isn’t helpful as it insinuates that you’re doing something wrong when you aren’t.

Innocent agrees. “Understand why you are saying it and give yourself permission to slowly reprogram yourself to what feels more aligned with how you want to engage with the world around you rather than the default most of us have of apologizing for needing anything or just existing,” she says.

Both Innocent and VanCort say shifting from apologetic to being appreciative can help with this. A simple “Thank you!” instead of “I’m sorry” is a solid start.

Related: 10 Times Your Daughter Shouldn’t Say ‘Sorry’

2. “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know.”

VanCort says many women have a difficult time saying no, as we are taught to be caretakers in our communication. This leads us to offer less confrontational statements. And when we offer such a soft or unsure response, it’s not surprising others may take advantage.

“Imagine a man says, ‘Are you OK with me giving the presentation even though you did most of the background work?’ Now assume there’s no logical reason for this request, and, in addition, the man has consistently taken credit for your work. Your answer can simply be ‘No,’” VanCort says.

She says to further your point, you can also directly explain why you’re not okay with it, such as the fact that you did the work and it’s important to you.

3. “Thank you so, so much!” when it isn’t warranted.

How often have you heard a girlfriend express extreme gratitude over her spouse doing something that is the bare minimum, like watching the kids for the night or doing the dishes?

Dr. Renee Solomon, a licensed clinical psychologist and co-owner of Forward Recovery, says many women are often overly grateful for things they don’t need to be.

“This is followed by a woman profusely thanking that person over and over. It is okay to thank someone for doing something, but a woman should not have to thank anyone profusely for fulfilling a basic expectation,” Solomon says.

Save the extreme gratitude for when it’s warranted, like someone saving your family from a burning building. Folding and putting the laundry away? Nah.

4. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Often when women are wronged and someone apologizes, we will follow their apology with ‘don’t worry about it,’” VanCort says. While acceptable if it was a genuine mistake, if someone is consistently unkind and apologizes without any real behavioral change, there’s no reason to tell them not to worry about it.

“Excusing it sets you up for it happening again,” she says. Instead, she suggests saying something like, “Thank you for your apology, and I hope this doesn’t happen again. It’s not OK.”

5. “… but what do you think?”

While getting others’ input can be good at times, other times we’re just undercutting ourselves. “(The phrase) ‘… but what do you think?’ takes away the idea that has been presented and makes it appear that the woman does not know if it is a good idea,” Solomon says. She recommends women make their statements and pause for a response rather than immediately second-guessing themselves, which can make us sound less self-assured.

VanCort offers similar phrases like “I’m no expert” or “This might be a bad idea… but.” “This is a classic example of a woman diminishing her opinion to avoid pushback. If you believe something is worth saying, don’t start undermining what you’re going to say. If you have an opinion, state it without apology,” she says.

6. “This has to be perfect.”

Many women struggle to make themselves and or their surroundings fit some ideal. A perfectly clean home. The perfect holiday memories. Going to great lengths to fit impossible standards of beauty.

“We don’t see the invisible energy drain that perfectionism creates,” Innocent says. She recommends saying something as simple as “Oops!” to combat this.

“From making stumbles as small as forgetting something from the grocery store to sending an email to the wrong person or without an attachment… All of them are now met with an ‘Oops, I’m human, and I know I tried my best!’” she says.

She reminds herself and others that mistakes benefit our future selves in some way and that accepting this also allows us to release control. Another phrase she offers: “I’m doing the best that I can with what I have, and I’m a human being.”

Related: The Stress of Parenting Turned Me into a Perfectionist—and It Almost Killed Me

7. “I’m just lucky to be included.”

How often do we hear men in meetings say something like this? The answer is almost never.

“So often when working with women stepping into leadership positions, we grapple with a limiting belief of ‘I’ll take whatever I can get because if I ask for what I need or say no, I’ll burn a bridge or seem ungrateful. That belief doesn’t come out of nowhere; it’s a message many of us receive overtly or subvertly when interacting with the world around us,” Innocent says.

Innocent works with women who struggle to get what they need by helping them shift the narrative to a place of strength, knowing, and trust. She advises reframing being “lucky” to being intentional and stating needs outright and what happens if those needs aren’t met. For example, if you require X to move forward with a project, say that if you don’t get that, you won’t move forward.

A final note:

There are certainly some other phrases women should stop saying (like “I should”), but these are a great starting point. Moreover, we must recognize why these phrases work against us (mainly patriarchy) and that we raise our kids to understand the complexities of this so we can continue to move away from it. It’s just as important to remind boys and men to make women and others feel as worthy as they are.

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