Words are powerful. Words elicit emotions in ourselves and other people. The language we use creates pictures in our mind which in turn affect our feelings. The words you say out loud and internally to yourself play a big part in creating your experience.
This short blog is just a thought on ideas of how you can change your dialogue to feel more motivated, positive and generally happier.
Here are some examples of how words and phrases we commonly use, can change the feeling around a situation:
When I see a client for the first time, we talk about their issue and then I’ll ask them what outcome they want to achieve through the sessions. Almost every single person will start telling me what they don’t want. E.g. “Well I don’t want feel x,y,z.” “I don’t want to eat when I’m stressed.” “I don’t want to smoke.”
Why is this?
They are sat with me because they have an issue they want to resolve. They have been so focused on the problem, (incidentally keeping the problem in place), that they have lost sight of why they want to change and the benefits of changing. What they actually want. Sometimes just pointing this out can result in a light bulb moment for some people.
Do your best to focus on what you ‘do’ want. You are likely to feel more positive and actually are more likely to achieve it.
How does it feel when you say you ‘should’ do something. “I should do the housework,” “I should lose some weight,” ” I should stop smoking.”
The inference of the word ‘should’ is of something you don’t want to do. Not only that, something you are actually not likely to do either.
“I need to eat less sugar.” “I need to stop smoking,” “I need to get a new job.” How does the word ‘need’ feel to you?
I might feel I ‘need’ to do x,y or z – but actually I don’t really want to. ‘Need’ feels like it is going to take a huge effort. ‘Need’ feels like it really is going to be an uphill struggle to get that thing I think I need.
“I’ll ‘try’ and eat healthily today.” “I’ll ‘try’ to stop biting my nails.” “I’ll ‘try’ to find time to do some exercise.” ‘Try’ implies failure. Try has an undertone to us that we will not do whatever it is we are going to ‘try’ and do.
I use the word try all the time in sessions intentionally. I’ll often ask clients to try and find that anxiety they came with. Try and find that fear. The more they try and find it, the more they fail and the more they fail to find it, the more they realise they have changed.
I will go walking after work, I will do the housework, I will look for another job. A positive, decisive and motivating phrase.
I am making plans to ensure I achieve x,y or z. I am going to do it. Again, a positive decision has been made and it feels good to know you are definitely doing something doesn’t it.
‘Choose’ is a word of power. You always have a choice even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. You can choose to eat healthily, or you can choose not to.
You can choose to live with anxiety, or you can choose to take action to change that unhelpful programme your mind is running. You can choose to do the housework, or find a new job, or do some exercise.
To choose to do something just feels so much better than ‘should’ or ‘need’ doesn’t it?
Whether you decide to use this word instead though, is completely your choice.
Let me know your thoughts and if you can think of any other words or phrases you use that have a negative or positive nuance.
Quoting the great Terence Mckenna:
The real secret of magic, is that the world is made of words. And if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish.
Choose your words with care.