The old adage ”sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” was penned in 19th Century but doesn’t ring quite true does it?
Words are Powerful
Words can belittle people or build them up. The words of Shakespeare still impact our language today reminding us that life is a stage, to beware the dogs of war and that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
Words are powerful when spoken – just think of Churchill’s wartime speeches. Words are powerful when read. If you’ve ever read Clockwork Orange where the language is spikey and jars you’ll know what I mean – it’s one of the few books I never finished reading as it made me feel anxious and uncomfortable.
We know that words can be painful, powerful and lasting don’t we? Long after someone has unfairly criticised you it may linger in your thoughts. Things people say can rankle or upset us for minutes or for years if we choose to dwell on them. We may fling out a comment or a harsh word and then think that told them because we know our words really do make a difference to others. How often do you pause to think how the words you say to others and probably more importantly to yourself are hurting you and limiting your self belief and your confidence?
As children we may have been told to be kind and to speak nicely to each other but rarely are we encouraged to speak nicely to ourselves. Being kind to others is important yet to be able to be kind to others it’s critical to be kind to ourselves first and foremost. Speaking nicely to others is important but speaking nicely to ourselves is essential
How often do you use words which make you feel guilty, sad, useless, a failure?
Telling yourself off; criticising yourself; telling yourself you’re useless; belittling yourself; reminding yourself you can’t do something; getting cross with yourself and all those short comings that you have. We hear the words we think and say. Negative, critical words hurt us, reduce our self belief,
How often do you use words which make you feel proud, motivated, confident, encouraged?
Telling yourself how you are doing the best that you can; celebrating each little success; reminding yourself you are making progress; praising yourself; telling yourself you can do the things you want to do. Positive words build us up, gives us confidence and self belief.
Not convinced that the words you use really make a difference to how you feel and therefore what you can and can’t do?
In 2018 Ikea conducted an experiment where a group of children recorded comments which were played to two houseplants kept in identical conditions by praising and complimenting one of them and to bully and insult the other. The houseplant that was criticised and bullied was noticeably wilted and droopy.
Be careful how you speak to yourself because you are always listening. In fact you are your biggest audience.
Some Tips for You to Learn to Speak Kindly to You
Mantras – sounds very new age and woo-woo but they work. They work because we learn by repetition and we listen to what we say. A mantra is simply a collection of words that focuses our minds on a specific outcome or way of being. Examples would be ‘I am worthy of success’ or ‘I’ll be confident and choose my words well at the interview’ or even to build a new belief ‘sugar is poison’. State your outcome in the present tense or as a fact; write it down; repeat it several times a day.
Choose Your Words with Care – we can choose the words we think and say to ourselves. A good place to start is to stop using the words Have to, Must, Should as we rarely appreciate being told that we have to, must or should do something by others or by ourselves! Instead use Wish To, Choose To, Want to so our mind accepts that this is our choice and we experience less resistance internally.
Praise Yourself Daily – bet that made you feel uncomfortable just reading that. We are gently encouraged not to brag or boast or big ourselves up and are told things like ‘pride comes before a fall’ or ‘don’t get too big for your boots’. In fact you are responsible for your happiness which means becoming your own number 1 fan is important. You can be your biggest cheerleader. Make time every day to congratulate yourself on what you’ve achieved, praise yourself for what you have done and the choices you’ve made. Perhaps take time over a cuppa or in the bath or the shower to have your very on Rah-Rah moment every day.
If you feel you’d benefit from thinking in a different way and learning to nurture yourself through the way you think and speak to yourself then message me to find out how I help my clients transform their thoughts and their lives.