What language do you speak?
If that sounds like a strange question, let me clarify what I mean. I’m not talking about your mother tongue, but the actual words you choose when you are talking to yourself, your inner self-talk, and when you talk to others. Do you use positive and affirming words, or negative and draining? Our language is powerful; it can build us up or destroy us, and, other people, words can be powerful weapons.
For example, do you believe the Universe has your back, or that it is conspiring against you? Are you conspiring against yourself, with the language you use?
Imagine you have planned to go for a walk and it rains, or you’re in a hurry and just as you approach a set of traffic lights, they change to red. Your response might be “oh typical” or “just my luck”
But why is it typical or just your luck? If this way of thinking and speaking, resonates with you then ask yourself, are there times when life almost seems to affirm a belief such as “things never go right for me”. Is it possible that we spend time looking for things going wrong to “self-fulfil” our own prophecy?
Let me give you an example:
I start every day with a hot water and lemon drink. One morning, when I went to make it, there were no lemons, so my self -talk went something like this:
“Typical, I can’t believe you don’t have any lemons, you were at the supermarket yesterday. How could you have forgotten lemons? You’re always forgetting things these days! Oh well, tea will need to do”
I then proceeded to drop the teabag on the floor. When it did reach the mug it burst, I had to use a second one. The kettle I was boiling didn’t switch off and I came back into a steam room as opposed to a kitchen. That was when I laughed out loud and stopped my negative tirade. I realised that by allowing this continual stream of negative self -talk to flow, all I was doing was creating an even more negative situation. The more harshly I spoke to myself, and moaned about things going wrong, the worse I felt. Once I noticed what I was doing to myself and laughed, my morning improved, I even found a lemon in the fridge 😊
If we believe in Sod’s Law or Murphy’s law, or that the Universe is conspiring against us, then I guess at some level, that relieves us of taking personal responsibility for our live. We can blame others or the weather or the traffic lights. It also becomes a habit and we find ourselves looking for further evidence that this is indeed “typical”. So, when we plan a walk and it rains, rather than dress appropriately or go to a plan B, we might say “typical”.
I confess to thinking this way and it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I became more aware of language and my attitude to things not working out as I had hoped. I had grown up with negative messages such as:
“Things are going too well, something will happen to change that soon” and “Bad things happen in 3s”; so, if something happened that didn’t go according to my plan, I would spend time waiting for the next 2 things. I didn’t spend time and energy looking at all the positive things happening to me, and around me. If life was going smoothly, I would be looking for something to make it bumpier, to fulfil the very beliefs I grew up with.
I also watched as some family members and friends got a lot of attention when things went wrong. At some level, subconsciously, they almost seemed to revel in the “drama”, so why would they choose to lose all that attention, by changing their language or their mindset?
It is so easy to tune in to or adopt the same soundtrack of negativity that is all around us at the moment, especially in the media and in the news.
A couple of months ago, I made a conscious decision not to buy a newspaper, or watch the news, or go onto Facebook, I recognised the media reporting was leaving me feeling very anxious. Some might say I’m not facing reality, but I would disagree, as it’s amazing what you still pick up without all these media in your life. But more importantly, by not being bombarded with sensationalist news, I found it reduced my fear and anxiety. By practicing a more positive way of talking to myself and others, I replaced anxiety with a deeper feeling of peacefulness.
In March 2020, as Covid became hot news and we were heading into lockdown, and, to socially distance from others, I went into a tailspin. The language being used by the politicians and the media, generated a lot of fear and anxiety. I’m a very sociable and tactile person who lives alone and doesn’t have any family, so the very idea of not seeing friends and hugging them was unthinkable.
I started looking for the “good news stories”, and began practising Gratitude every day, writing down 6 things I was grateful for. I also began to start my mornings with meditation, and reading some inspirational verses to lift my spirits.
I changed my language and refused to say I was socially distanced from others, replacing that phrase with “I am creating a safe space for myself and others”
I chose to see my flat as my “safe haven” and started cooking healthy meals, which I would freeze, so should I have down days, – which I did, and still do, (I’m human) – I had a healthy meal already prepared.
Recently, on a very wet day, as I was heading out in waterproofs, a friend messaged “it’s so miserable outside today”, I guess her day did indeed, turn out that way. As for me, I had a wonderful walk in the park and enjoyed watching the swans and ducks on the pond.
If I am committed to my positive practices, I feel calmer, less anxious and more at peace, and focussing on the words I use, both internally and externally makes a significant difference. So next time it rains, get your waterproofs on and head out, reminding yourself that it isn’t miserable, just wet.
So, I ask you again, “what language do you speak?” 😊