The other day I was listening to a play back of a message I left for someone. It is so strange to hear your own voice, right? The first thing I noticed was that I took really long pauses in between my words. Maybe it is something that only I notice or maybe it is something other people pick up on too. Either way, I am a bit self conscience about it but here is why it happens.
I have grown incredibly aware of how important our words can be. Words, the things that fly out of our mouths, sometimes all willy-nilly like, can leave a lasting impact. You might remember a specific moment when someone’s words made a lasting impression on you – for better or for worse. Maybe it was a motivational speaker or something that was said during an argument. Those are big moments.
Even in the small, everyday mundane moments, our words matter. We can really be in the habit of saying the same words over and over without realizing it. A simple example is how many times we go around saying something like… “How are you?” “Fine, and you?” “Have a good day!”
Now dig a little deeper and think about all the other things we just automatically say. As a parent, I say “See?! Now that’s what you get for doing XYZ.” Or, “That’s why we don’t stand up in the chair.” Ugh… it just comes out like word vomit. I cringe when I hear myself saying that because no one needs to be reminded of a mistake they made in the midst of the pain. Chances are they’ve learned the lesson and they just need a little empathy and understanding.
We can say similar things to ourselves, often without noticing. I ask my clients to weigh themselves daily if they are trying to lose weight, but I tell them to be careful of their words and thoughts as they are doing it.
“I’m so fat.” “I can’t believe I ate all that.” “I’ll never lose this weight.”
These are the kinds of words and thoughts that can really sabotage our best efforts. When we see or hear negative words our bodies send out stress signals. Even worse, when we do it over and over again we can really start to believe those words. The more we hear, read, or speak a word or phrase, the more power it has over us. This is because the brain is always searching for patterns and repetitions in order to make sense of the world around us.
Instead of letting words get the best of us, we can use the power of words our advantage. We first have to gain awareness and then control over that which we are exposing ourselves to daily. Our natural tendency is to focus on the negative, and it takes work to turn that around. So when I speak slowly, it’s because I am consciously making an effort to catch and cancel out those negative words. It’s definitely a work in progress.
Food for thought:
What words do you speak, read or think repeatedly?
Try this today:
Go on a negativity diet.
- First, notice and be aware of your negative words and thoughts.
- When they pop up, you can say, “cancel, cancel, cancel!”
- Replace negative words with positive ones. Try saying challenge instead of problem or yes, later instead of no, not right now.
- Replace judgments and criticisms with words of kindness. We are all doing the best we can so be kind to yourself and others. Or if you must give negative feedback try sandwiching it between two positive statements/thoughts.
Boost the Power of Positivity. The next key is feeding your brain more good thoughts than bad.
- For every one negative thought you have, generate 3 to 5 positive thoughts. Your positive thoughts don’t have to be perfect, sound good or even make sense.
Feed your brain a hefty portion of positive words at least 3 times a day.
- Start your day by reading or saying positive affirmations, quotes or scripture.
- End your emails with a happy message.
- Drink from a cup with an uplifting message on it.
- Plaster sticky notes with positivity on your mirror, computer, phone, etc.
What ideas or thoughts do you have on the power of words?