The Power of our Words
Have you ever stopped to notice how you speak to yourself?
Have you ever stopped to notice how you speak about yourself?
Have you ever stopped to notice the words and language you use?
Have you ever stopped to think about how powerful those words can be?
Questions, questions, I’m all about the questions but I wanted to grab your attention, to make you stop and think about each one of those things.
Why? Because our words have incredible power.
I spent a good portion of my life telling myself I was stupid, that I wasn’t good enough and that I would never be successful. Guess what? I did stupid things, I didn’t fulfil my potential and I didn’t achieve any great level of success.
I wasn’t doing that to myself on purpose. I was simply repeating what I had learnt as a child. I barely even noticed that those were my thoughts. But here’s the thing, the beliefs we hold about ourselves come from those thoughts. A belief is just a thought that you persist in thinking, that you keep on thinking over and over and over again. The more you think it, the stronger it becomes.
The average human being has between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day, of which roughly 80% are thought to be negative. And 90% of the thoughts we have today are thought to be the same as the ones we had yesterday, and the day before that, and the week before that, and the month before that, and the year before that and….I think you get my point. When you realise all of this you can see how important the thoughts and the words we use to and about ourselves are.
The good news is that we can change our words, we can change our thoughts and we can change our beliefs. The good news is that we can indeed get to choose.
The Law of Physics states that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. So how does the positive stuff get in if the negative stuff is already in there? Because we can choose to change the way we think and the words we use. We can choose to be aware of the power of our words.
Awareness is the key to everything. Starting to notice the thoughts that are running through your head and the words that are coming out of your mouth is of paramount importance.
Then once we notice them we can make the choice to change them and a lovely way to start doing this is by purposely using positive affirmations.
Everything that you say to and about yourself is an affirmation. So if you have the choice between making those positive or negative affirmations which would you choose? If you could choose to say helpful and empowering things about yourself or harmful things about yourself, which would you prefer?
It’s a no-brainer when you ask yourself that question isn’t it? And yet as human beings we walk around in our lives constantly berating ourselves and telling ourselves all kinds of harmful stuff.
The key to using affirmations is to use the 3 P’s, to ensure that your affirmations are:
1 – Personal
2 – Positive
3 – Present
So for instance, to counteract those beliefs I told you about myself:
I am good enough
I am intelligent and capable
I am able to achieve whatever I want
I am open to receiving success
Why not have a go at writing some affirmations for yourself? And if those “I am” statements feel a bit too far-fetched then add in the word “becoming”:
I am becoming good enough
I am becoming intelligent and capable
Adding that word softens the affirmation and helps to make it easier to believe.
But it’s not just about the words we use for ourselves, it’s also about the words we use towards others. When I was a child there was a common rhyme that went:
“Sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me”
It was meant to be the best comeback to anyone using horrible words towards you, to tell them that their words didn’t matter to you, that they couldn’t affect you. These days I could not disagree more. Our words can have a powerful effect on other people, I picked up those beliefs about myself because of things that were said to me when I was younger. Using that awareness of our words can help us choose to speak to other people with more kindness and compassion too.
So I have a challenge for you going forward. I am going to challenge you to start noticing the words you use, to start noticing the thoughts that run through your mind, to raise your awareness of it all. And then I’m going to ask you to catch the harmful ones, catch them and let them go, replace them with something more helpful and empowering. Show yourself and others the kindness and compassion you truly deserve.
By Jo Howarth