This week I decided to write a little post that will quite literally apply to anyone. Yep, you read it right: I wanted to address a little thing that we don’t always keep track of: the things we say and, more importantly, how we say them.
Words are pretty strong. In my country there’s even an old saying that the only things you cannot stop form immediate impact are a rock you’ve already thrown or a word you’ve already said. Words can literally bruise or heal if used in the right way. And even though there’s so much talk these days on the benefits of saying what’s on your mind, I don’t think our society normally focuses on teaching us how to express what we want. And, if you ask me, that’s a pretty important reason for why we don’t end up getting what we want in the end: we just don’t know how to call it. And whenever we don’t know that, we tend to boil it down to hollowed-out cliches, like “I want to be happy” or “I want to live free” and we leave it at that, not bothering to drill down to what that means for us and what really lies behind these words.
Another thing to be aware of is that sometimes we even tend to bring ourselves down with our words. We might not take a lot of time to think about this, but words have special feeling-related bonds in our minds; put simply: our words can literally make us feel things. That’s why we praise a good author: because he’s able to draw a picture with his words that’s so stunning and clear to us that we can’t help but be pulled in. That’s why when we have t constantly hear how our co-worker is complaining on the desk next to ours, we end up feeling down.
That being said, I think we should be paying more attention to the words we use, not only when communicating with others, but also with our daily discussions with ourselves. So many of us tend to be our own harshest critic every singe day that we don’t really allow ourselves to be happy and take pride in what we’ve accomplished: because we failed to do some other things. This is why we need to remember to first of all be gentle in the way we behave towards ourselves. We’re only human after all and we can only do so much. Treat yourself with respect and tell yourself that you did your best a little more often. Watch the tone with which you speak to yourself: notice if you’re using negative words more often than you should be. Our brains are somehow programmed to think about and notice what we don’t want; try to flip that around and tell yourself what you do want, what you did well in that situation, what you accomplished today. This is true even if all you accomplished is to make yourself some good coffee in the morning. Remember, pushing yourself does not have to be a 24/7 thing. Take some time to relax and be positive, this will eventually result in treating/talking to others the same way. And if it’s been a rough day and you can’t say anything nice, just don’t say anything at all.
Noticing and developing the habit of using uplifting words for ourselves and others is a crucial mindset of successful people: those who rise and move forward do it by being positively aimed at what’s in front of them, not criticizing themselves about what’s already behind them. Think about it.