Dictionary.com defines word as “a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning”. Language is defined by Dictionary.com as “the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way”.
How people communicate comes down to the use of our words and language, whether we are speaking, writing, using sign language, gesturing, or singing. I am pretty sure if I took a vote on the meaning of certain gestures 99.9% of people would have the same definition.
The core and foundation of the relationship with ourselves and with others boils down to what we say and how we say it. It’s that easy and that complicated.
Do actions matter? Absolut-freakin-lutely. Words of caring and respect combined with actions that are uncaring and disrespectful create relationships of mistrust and uncertainty. Silence can speak volumes even though not a sound is being heard.
Remember the childhood saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? For many of us, myself included, there are memories of people in our lives who said hurtful statements. Words that linger, haunt, and hurt in many painful ways. Words can cut like a knife with sharp blades that cause wounds in our spirit and soul.
Words can empower, support, and inspire. They can increase feelings of confidence and capability. Our words can instill belief and spread goodwill. Words can heal, comfort, and care.
Words, language are potent and powerful, carry value and meaning. What we say and how we say it has influence. Our words can heal and our words can wound.
Have you ever noticed we categorize people sometimes, and other times not? One of my friends successfully battled breast cancer. Woohoo for her! I describe her as my friend who beat breast cancer. I do not say my breast cancer friend. Individuals who are homeless are often referred to as homeless people. We say a person is a good person or perhaps a bad person, people with mental health issues are crazy, but wait for others they were a good person who made a mistake. If you have the flu are you the flu person or the person with the flu? A person who is addicted to substances is often an addict instead of a person with an addiction.
What about what we say and think about ourselves? Huffpost reports we have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, 35-48 thoughts per minute. Let’s say you think an average of 60,000 per day and that 15,000 of those thoughts are about yourself. Are your self-thoughts positive, strong, empowering, motivating? Do you build yourself up or tear yourself down? Our brains are hardwired to be negative. We also have the ability of plasticity to shape or mold our thoughts to be positive.
As Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t either way you are right”.
Here is the GREAT news! Incredibly, powerful, liberating news! YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR THINKING THOUGHTS! You have the power to CHANGE the words and language of your internal thinking and the external words and language to say to others! Yep you possess that super cool ability. You can change the plasticity of your mind.
Here is where you begin. Start by paying close attention to the chatter going on in your head. Listen in to the themes, words, statements, language. What are you saying about yourself? About others? Once you have assessed the situation, take stock, and begin.
Pick for yourself a statement of strength to describe yourself. Mine is “I am brilliant, bright, brave, and beautiful”. After EVERY interaction that makes you question yourself in any way shape or form say your phrase of strength over and over, until you begin to feel better. Once you feel better reflect upon what happened. Describe it with positive, empowering, strong words and language. Use constructive criticism. Do not shame. No one in the world is perfect. We are all on the learning curve called life.
Change your WORD:
W- WONDER what you are thinking and saying about yourself and others.
O– OBTAIN a personal statement of strength to use when negative, shaming thoughts run through your mind about yourself or about others. Feel free to use mine if it works for you.
R– REPETITIOUSLY state in your mind your statement of strength, along with positive, affirming, kind words about yourself and others. As you reflect upon situations and interactions where you were shaming yourself or others, replace those thoughts with strong, empowering words. “I only ran two miles” could be “I ran two miles”.
D– DEDICATE with effort and time replacing negating negative thoughts and feelings with affirming, capable, substantial words, language. Do this often and the best you can. Be kind and gentle with yourself as your work through this change.
Buddha say it best when he said “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”.