Friday, November 17, 2017

Words = Power

How many times have we said something like the following:

"I'm so stupid, I can't believe I just did that."
"I couldn't possibly do that; I don't know how."
"My head is KILLING me!"

Now, hold up! What we are telling ourselves by saying these things? 

What we are actually saying, is: I am a stupid person. I am incapable of learning new things. The pain I am experiencing is so bad I might as well be dead.

What a bummer!

Did you know that words have power? I believe that speaking things into existence affects our reality by coloring our expectations. We are training ourselves to expect certain outcomes when we employ certain verbal patterns. 

What are the outcomes of this behavior? Well...we have an expectation of feeling stupid, so we lose our self-confidence and never reach for the stars. We have an expectation that a skill or activity is out of our league, so we don't even try to expand our skillset, forever stagnating in a state of discontentment. We have an expectation of pain to be "killing" us, so that headache gets worse, and worse, and worse, til we cancel all our plans for the evening and go hide in a dark room. (And I'm not saying people don't have legit issues with migraines, etc., but bear with me and let me use the average, every day headache as an example, okay? Because I have personally done this.) 

So, the $64,000 question is: WHY are we doing this to ourselves? Is it nature or nurture? Is it something we learn from those around us? Has society, with all of its negative news and pessimistic social media feeds, conditioned us to expect bad things?

What's the worst thing that can happen if we stop speaking negative words? 

Let that percolate for a few....

Yeah, I can't think of anything bad, either. 

By changing our internal monologue (or external dialogue), we can change our perception of our world. We can change our power in a situation. We can decide how we are going to proceed instead of blindly extenuating negatives. 

So, where to start? Here are some ideas (and I've been practicing these, myself, because practice is how you get good at something):

Step 1: Ask "What am I saying to myself--or to others--that affects my life/their lives negatively? What negative messages am I amplifying?" (Go ahead. Ask yourself this. I'll wait.)

Step 2: Pay attention to what you're saying and when you're saying it. How many times a day are you saying it? What are your triggers? It'll probably open your eyes to some patterns. (I know it has certainly opened mine!) 

Step 3: Stop the behavior in its tracks. Recondition yourself to expect positives instead of negatives. If negative talk starts, stop it and change it. To illustrate this, let's take those negative examples from above, and turn them around to be positives:

"I am NOT stupid; I am an intelligent human being who sometimes makes mistakes."

"I am CAPABLE of learning something new and fulfilling my dreams."

"My head is NOT killing me. Sure, it hurts, but it is not killing me, and I don't need to stop living my life because of it." (At this point, I'll pop a Tylenol or something, stop complaining, and go on with whatever I was doing.)

Finally (and I think this one organically happens after Steps 1-3 start getting habitual), Step 4 is: Ask yourself, "If words affect my and others' reality, then what positive messages can I put forth into the world? What words can I use to make the world a better place?"

[I'll let you in on a little secret: Step 4 is why I started positively b.e.e.] the spirit of Step 4, I truly feel moved to spread the following message. Write it down, okay? If you take nothing else away from this post, please take away this one thing:

Words have power, so empower yourself
(and others) with 
the right words. 

As always, please feel free to comment below if you have an insights or inspirations about this topic.

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  1. On the website Joyable they have a similar approach: Catch it, Check it, Change it. Catch your negative thoughts, Check what they are saying and how they are "bad," Change it to something more positive or constructive. It's hard to do, but when you can stop the negative thought spiral it's amazing how effective it is. <3

    1. That's really cool, thanks for the tip! I'll have to check that site out.

  2. You're totally right! It's so incredibly important to be mindful of the judgments we have and the words that come from our mouths or linger in our minds. I think you're right in saying that words have a hold on us and our consequent behaviours.


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