We can learn a lot about ourselves just by listening to the things that we say. What we’ve been thinking about eventually comes out of our mouth. In a way, our words predict our own future, as what we say is what we get. Loudly forecasting a stressful day ensures that we’ll get one. Excitedly anticipating an adventurous day creates one. We prophesy to ourselves more than anyone else. Words matter.
And nowadays our words don’t fall on deaf ears. In this era of Social Media, never before in the history of the world have words been so cheap, fast, viral and irretrievable. Even your tweets end up in the archives of the Library of Congress. If there were ever a reason to think before you post, that’s a good one.
The Power of Words
Since we speak and write all day long, it’s easy to forget the power of words. We take words for granted and forget that:
Words affect our physical feelings. Try an experiment: Pay attention to the energy you feel when you say out loud “I’m SO tired.” Now feel the difference when you say out loud “I feel GREAT!” Almost scary, isn’t it? Yet we thoughtlessly complain and drag ourselves down further with our words.
Words have an effect on the people who hear them. The effect can be good or bad. While waiting in a long, slow line at airport security recently, the man in front of me turned around and asked how I was doing. I blurted out, “I’ll be glad to get out of this mess!” He responded with “Well, it’s always an adventure!” I was both encouraged and embarrassed. His positive words gave me a new perspective, and my negative words reflected poorly on my attitude. I was stunned at the difference a few words made.
If we say something enough, we begin to believe it. That’s just the way the brain works. When we constantly say “I can’t” and “I don’t have time” and “I’m not smart enough,” the repetition creates a go-to response. Is that really what you want to believe about yourself?
Our Habit of Speaking
Often our way of speaking is simply a habit. The first step to changing our habit is awareness of what’s coming out of our mouth. At that point we can resist talking about what’s wrong all the time. Did you realize that being cheerful and positive is impossible when you constantly speak negative, power-draining words?
Instead, fill your mouth with what you want. Break out of the rut of gloomy predictions and critical observations.
Speak Happy Words
Surprisingly, happy words can actually increase your joy. Use words such as:
Beautiful, Fantastic, Amazing, Love, Appreciate, Awesome, Huge, Great
Wouldn’t it be nice to be known by some “signature words?” To be thought of as the guy who tells everyone they’re “awesome!” or the girl who always tells people they’re “beautiful!” You never know how much you’ll encourage and inspire someone by simply speaking happy words.
Practical Steps to Change Your Words….Because Your Words Matter
- Make is a point to listen to yourself for a checkup on your words. What can you learn about yourself? If you’re constantly saying you’re tired, what is your body telling you? What attitudes from your heart are bubbling up?
- Realize that talking about something will increase feelings about it. Repeatedly speaking about your hurt feelings or a tough situation will increase the hurt and stress. There’s a time and place for talking about feelings, but venting and an uncontrolled focus on emotions adds fuel to the fire.
- Ban certain words and phrases from your vocabulary. Start with “hate,” “worry,” “discouraged….”
- CHOOSE happy, hopeful words. It will make a difference in your life! It will make a difference in the lives of the people around you.