Episode 14 – ‘Power of Words’

Written by Alison

July 12, 2022

 

In the last show we talked about time and our relationship with time. In this episode we are going to chat about language and the language that holds us back

This is both our own internal voice and how we communicate to others. This fundamentally is a massive topic as everything is about how we communicate. Words and Language are the most powerful tools we have and yet can cause us so many challenges. Wars have been started, deals have been lost and relationships destroyed over words. In his book, Change One Word at a Time, David Firth, author, consultant and speaker, reports that we speak 16,000 words a day. There are ways of speaking that produce action and change and there are ways of speaking that don’t. This can produce happiness and progress or negativity and to ourselves and others, we are listening, interpreting and responding. It can be like a dance. 

As communication is probably at the root of all challenges, we will break down some aspects so that you can identify where change is necessary. How we communicate has a huge impact on the outcome in any situation. unhappiness. A little like our thoughts, how many of our words are good, productive ones? For most of us, our words are spoken without consciousness. We rarely stop to think about what we are saying. Our thoughts, opinions, judgements and beliefs roll off our tongues without a care for the damage or the benefits they can produce. While we have acknowledged that the emotional response is always the first one for the mind, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the right one to follow. The old saying ‘bite your tongue’ springs to mind! We often end up saying things that rationally we don’t mean. Also remember the subconscious mind takes everything literally, so it believes all thoughts and words and creates a response accordingly. For this reason, gossip and judgement become like poison into our bodies. It robs us of a clear mind. We often judge others when we feel unhappy or angry, which then fuels our own systems with negativity and we are caught in a vicious circle. Our negative self-talk is probably at large.

Unhelpful language There are many ways that we can change the way we talk and what language we use. There are a few quick wins to challenge negativity and these will affect what happens next. Let’s have a look at a few.

How many times a day do you hear yourself saying ‘I should …….’? We get into trouble with using ‘should’ when it takes the form of these automatic thoughts. The idea of choice moves us closer to doing something. A ‘should’ can stem from guilt, a choice leads to action. ‘I should decorate my house’, ‘I should sort out my life’. While we do need to do things in life to get on, we certainly are not obliged to act on all our thoughts. If we choose to do something out of choice then this will (to some degree, at least) change the outcome for the better. When we do ‘should’ things, these are linked to pressure, guilt or other people. This is likely to make us miserable and comes back to doing things that are wrong for us. Equally, words like ‘ought’ and ‘must’ all relate to demands and high expectations, and link to behaviours we have explored like people pleasing, rescuer and victim position thinking. These words drive us to behave through the expectations of others, not particularly ourselves. A quick release from this trap is to watch out for how often we say, ‘I should do X and Y’, and then ask

So what’s your thoughts on should? How many people are stuck thinking and believing that they should do something? Or shouldn’t have done something? 

We put ourselves under so much pressure and can tie ourselves up in knots trying desperately to get it right – but right for whom? Not necessarily ourselves. When we put too much emphasis on what others will think of us, rather than accepting our own ‘true’ self – in other words placing disproportionate emphasis on what society and others expect of us and how we ‘ought to’ act – it can become a ‘tyranny of the shoulds’. We feel that we ‘should’; ‘have to’; ‘must’; ‘need’; ‘ought to’ do certain things out of duty, obligation or compulsion or simply because we think others will judge us. Word of warning, when you feel the pressure of other people’s expectations, bear in mind, these are quite probably your own.

Remember we do have a choice over how things go for us. We can choose to look at things/life/ourselves differently then will have a different experience.

‘Don’t’

We want to work towards focusing on what we want rather than what we don’t. Remember the human mind is powerful and creative and yet it’s as if it has a few flaws in its functioning. One of these is that the subconscious mind is unable to process the word ‘don’t’. So when we think or say, ‘I don’t want to be upset’, ‘I don’t want to be stressed or anxious’, ‘I don’t want to feel insecure’, ‘I don’t want to cry’, ‘I don’t want to be with a person like that again’, our subconscious mind is unable to process the simple word ‘don’t’ and actually hears a direct instruction to do exactly what is not wanted. Think of a sign which reads ‘Don’t go on the grass’, there is a part of us that wants to go on the grass. It is only our conscious mind which knows this means ‘stay off the grass’! Small children demonstrate this perfectly because they live in their subconscious world. When you say to a small child, ‘Don’t touch the TV’, ‘Don’t spill your drink’ or ‘Don’t run on the road’, the child just seems to do exactly what you have just asked them not to do. What the child is actually hearing is a direct instruction – touch the TV, spill your drink and could frighteningly run on the road. These instructions can be very confusing to children and can shape us as adults, possibly leading to the creation of limiting beliefs and confusion in terms of emotional growth. Adult subconscious minds are no different from the child in this context. The difference is our conscious, rational mind knows what is meant, although it is the subconscious mind that creates the reality for us. So, going back to the examples before, saying ‘Come away from the TV’, ‘Put your cup on the table’, and ‘Stay on the pavement’ will get a completely different response. Try it; it is amazing to see the difference. For you, it is vital that you say what you want also. For if you find yourself saying ‘I don’t want to be stressed’, then what exactly is it that you do want? Do you want to be calm? Do you want to be confident? This focuses on what you want rather than what you don’t… language change makes an enormous amount of difference to how the subconscious mind processes and then on what happens as a result. Remember what you focus on becomes your reality

‘But’

Another word used frequently is the little, yet powerful word ‘but’. Some people use it habitually and, without realising it are pointing out the negative aspects of a situation. Do you realise that when the word ‘but’ is used, it negates anything that has been said immediately prior? For example, ‘I have had a lovely day, but the weather was rubbish’. The ‘but’ takes the focus from the lovely day. We all do this far too often, and the trick is to change our language and use the word ‘and’ in its place. Going back to the example, ‘I have had a lovely day, and the weather was rubbish’. The little word ‘but’ is also a big avoider. It pepper’s our language with excuses why we don’t do things or take action. It also gives a free rein to any limiting thoughts and beliefs to hold us back. For example; ‘I’m normal weight but my arms are fat’, ‘I’m active but I really should do more exercise’, ‘I play the piano but I’m not very good’, ‘I’m really good at my job but I will never get a promotion, ‘I’d like to travel more but I can’t leave my mother on her own’, ‘I’m miserable in this relationship but I’m scared to leave

Remember to message in with any questions or topics that you would like us to cover. You can email the show anytime makingsense@wirralwave.co.uk or contact us on our socials.

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