Words. We use thousands of them every day. We express with them. We direct with them. We react with them. We accomplish with them. Words are, in short, necessary and powerful. But while they are powerful going out from our mouths and shaping the world, they are also powerful inside, in shaping ourselves. How we ‘talk’ to ourselves makes us who we are.
Words determine how we communicate with other people and ourselves, how we label our experiences and much more. Empowering words generate empowering behaviour. Likewise, negative words, such as excuses, are the results of disempowering thoughts, often happening without our realisation. Negative words limit our choices and impact our moods.
Here are ways we can ‘talk ourselves happy,’ speaking ourselves into happier people:
Use words to change negative contexts into positive ones.
Compare this: a calm serene day at the beach – hot and sunny, light breeze…ah a brilliantly sunny day! And then: a cold and rainy day – ick, right? No! This is a brilliantly rainy day! The earth is being cleansed and watered! A brilliant day to run outside and feel the rain trickle through your hair! A brilliant day to hear the rain melodically drumming on the roof or lightly pelting the windows! A brilliant day for cuddling inside! See the difference one ‘brilliant’ little word can make?
If we create positive self-talk about an event or a circumstance, we will be in a more positive emotional state. Clever, huh? We can program our minds to be in positive moods. We can use words to choose the way we represent the world to ourselves, and ourselves to the world.
Tell yourself that the world presents ‘opportunities’ rather than ‘problems’.
We are all familiar with the ‘glass half empty / glass half full’ scenario – the word you choose to describe the glass reveals your mind-set. For example, are you more likely to say the words, “Yes, let’s go for it!” or “I’d like to but…”? Whew, what strength these little words have to super-charge a pro-active life from a more dismal reactive life! Tony Robbins, in Unlimited Power, says that whatever happens, take responsibility. He writes that “Achievers believe that no matter what happens, whether good or bad, they created it.” Notice that word? Create….words have power to create, to direct the way our life goes!
Tell yourself you cannot fail.
Positive people live their lives in a different way. Essentially they challenge themselves with a different set of questions. The power of this is that if you ask a different question, using different words, you’ll get a different answer. Rather than telling yourself you have ‘failed’ at something (a truly disheartening word) try asking these questions:
How have I managed to create this situation in my life and for what purpose? Whew! This suddenly gives us an empowering perspective – on any situation! This takes away our inclination to blame others; instead, it leads us into searching out a solution. It reminds us that we have a choice in all situations to make changes. We are not victims, we are creators and solvers!
What could I do differently next time? These words steer us to focus on trying something else next time rather than wallowing in something we did wrong. Rather than being the hamster incessantly running in the hamster wheel (madness!) we become “super-hamster” spreading our cape and leaping off that crazy wheel to try something else! This opens the door for our minds to consider all sorts of possibilities going forward, focussing on positive chance, focussing on ‘opportunities’ rather than ‘problems.’
What is there to learn from this experience? The truly amazing thing about learning is that when you learn, you let go of the past and move forward into the future. Remember, there is not ‘failure’ only ‘feedback.’ This means that when things don’t go according to plan, we can soak in the feedback, appreciate the experience, and move on to something else, something new and exciting (perhaps even go for that run in the rain now…)!