The words we choose have an enormous influence on how we feel and the way we view ourselves and our lives.
You, my beautiful – precious – unique – cherub, are important, so let your language reflect that.
All of us matter and all of us have our own specific work to do in the world. You’re here for a reason, cheeky chops. If we are to fulfill our potential and make the most of our limited time here on the planet then we need to recognise the significant role that the words we use play in shaping our reality.
Here are some simple but effective ways to start using language as a tool of self-respect, empowerment and love:
Eliminate or reduce certain unhelpful words from your vocabulary.
I was having a really interesting conversation the other day, (with myself, but never mind about that), in which I was mulling over a topic and telling myself I found something quite inspiring.
Nothing wrong with that, you might assume.
Then I thought, why am I using the word ‘quite’? I find this topic inspiring, full stop. Or even – very or super – inspiring, there’s no ‘quite’ about it, so why am I tempering my true opinion with a ‘quite’?
What’s going on here?
Am I in some sort of misplaced self protective/fearful mode, afraid to simply make the declaration that for me something *is* inspiring, as in, if I make such a bold statement without diluting it first then I might be made a fool of, should I later be proven wrong (even though that would be impossible because a, I’m never wrong, and b, it’s an opinion we’re talking about here..)
Or Is it because I am typically English and don’t want to ‘make a fuss’, or draw vulgar attention to myself, and I subconsciously believe I’d be ‘coming on too strong’ for some people, making it difficult for them to disagree with me because I’ve been so brazen as to state something as if it were an indisputable fact. Which I actually haven’t anyway, as I’ve said it only as an opinion. And in my own head, for the love of god!
I know, I know, you wish you could be as calm and peaceful as my zen-like mind.
But seriously, don’t underestimate the potency and influence your words can have on your well-being and life in general. It might seem far-fetched, but if you are constantly watering down the verbal expression of your feelings, or afraid to fully express your views (and therefore yourself) in all your magnificent glory, then over time this will send a clear message to your subconscious of smallness and unworthiness.
I’ve resolved to stop saying the word ‘quite’ unless I am quite* deliberately intending to modify/strenghthen/lessen the impact of whatever adjective it is I am using.
*Ha ha! See what I did there?!
Another unnecessary word to consider banishing is ‘just’, a word which can add an unwelcome hurried, harried feel to a conversation, and which can make you seem timidly diminished.
Think of the difference between: ‘I’m just going to do this’ and ‘I’m going to do this’,
‘Can I just ask a question?’ and ‘Can I ask a question?’
It sounds so much cleaner and clearer and expansive without the ‘just’! AmIrightorwhat??????
The ‘just’ is so meek and subservient! It’s like apologising or seeking permission for going about your business, doing something, or having something to say, having an opinion, or just existing!
You are entitled to your place in the universe as much as everyone else! Claim it with pride! As long as you are respectful and kind – then stand tall, be here and be your glorious self without any kind of implied apology!
Amp up the volume on certain words.
Conversely, a bit of auto-suggestion or acting ‘as if’ with the words you use can have a powerfully positive effect on how you feel. I don’t mean by being or saying anything false, but rather to play up, accentuate, amplify and shift your focus onto what already exists that is positive.
So for example if someone asks how you are, and you’re feeling generally well and happy enough, then reply that you feel ‘great’ instead of merely ‘good’, and the chances are that you will then actually feel great rather than just good!
Say thank you instead of sorry.
Another idea I read about recently (I think somewhere on Randi Buckley’s lovely and extremely helpful blog) is to substitute ‘thank you’ for ‘sorry’, as in ‘thank you for waiting for me’ rather than ‘sorry I’m late’, ‘thanks for understanding that I can’t do that favour,’ instead of ‘I’m sorry I can’t do you the favour’, ‘thank you for taking the time to explain something to me,’ instead of preempting a question with ‘Sorry to bother you, sorry to be a pain but…’ etc.
I find this truly empowering! You still acknowledge the other person and their needs, but you’re coming from a positive place of gratitude and appreciation for that person, rather than making a negative apology for yourself.
Of course saying thank you rather than sorry is no substitute when you have actually done something wrong that you truly need or want to apologise for!
Notice the way you talk to yourself.
Nourishing words only! Be kind. Everything is better if you can be your own best friend and hold your own hand. Speak to yourself like you matter. Because, hello, you do.
Be aware of how you describe yourself and your life to other people.
You’ll start believing what you say, so you might as well make it half full. And again, I’m not talking about making stuff up or embellishing, or glossing over the crap that happens or that you feel. Just don’t give it unnecessary attention or energy which could be more helpfully put to use elsewhere.
The language we use is without a doubt prescriptive as well as descriptive, and is a hugely powerful form of expression.
Let’s treat our verbal language – and with it, ourselves – with the importance it deserves. Whether that means using it as a tool of respect for yourself and other people, learning to talk to and about yourself with kindness and love, thinking nourishing thoughts instead of beating yourself up, or simply having some awareness of the kind of effect words have on our lives and in the world.
Thanks for reading, Pretty ones! Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any salient points. I might do another post on this, as for the sake of length and not wanting to rant I deliberately didn’t talk about labelling and the word vagina. Gasp!
More love-inducing words and art to make you feel good over in my Etsy shop