I am writing today about a pet peeve of mine. Anyone who knows me will be vigorously nodding their heads because 9 times out of 10, I have already called them on it. What am I talking about? What you say out of your mouth.
From childhood, we know the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” and we used it to steel ourselves against playground teasing. Did it work? NO! Why? Because words can kill. They can cut deep into our spirit, our psyche, and cause us deep psychological wounds that sometimes never heal. In elementary school, I was teased for knowing the answers in class and being an A student. In high school, I’ll never forget when my history teacher, after distributing a list of extra credit assignments that could be done, announced in front of the class that I was not allowed to do extra credit because my grade was already high. Can we say embarrassed? For years after finishing school, I always made it a point to blend in, to not be noticed, to not give answers, all so I would not stand out. It wasn’t until recently that I began to shake off my need to shrink myself into anonymity. One of the things I discovered while going through personal development is that my life’s purpose requires I stand out and be noticed. (read my earlier post, “The Joke’s On Me”). I still tend to shrink, but I fight it and move forward.
But I am not here to write about words people say to you. I am here to write about the words you say to yourself. That’s right. The words you say out loud about yourself and things going on in your life. George Zalucki, the world-renowned motivational coach and entrepreneur, teaches, “What the thinker thinks, the prover proves.” Said another way, the words you think (thinker), go down into the heart (prover), your inner being, and come out of your mouth and eventually manifest in your actions or inactions.
The Bible puts it this way:
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34 (NKJV) and this way,
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV) and this way,
He who guards his mouth preserves his life. Proverbs 13:3 (NKJV)
There are over 300 scriptures about the mouth and the good and the bad that flow out it; these are just a few. Experts say you believe what you say about yourself faster than what other people say about you. Therefore, the words YOU use to describe yourself and your life deeply affect you. They deeply affect how you feel and how you act. As I said, I am writing this because of my pet peeve. I constantly hear people say things that undermine themselves and they don’t realize they’re doing it. When I hear them, I stop them, explain the effect of their words and help them re-state their thought. (if you know me, I’ve probably done this to you!) To help you right now, here are a few things I hear people say along with the rights words to say to empower, not undermine.
- “I am trying to____”. When you say this, you tell yourself to permanently try and not accomplish. Instead, say “I am _____”.
- “I hate _____” When you say this, you tell yourself to permanently detest the thing or person. Instead, say, “I don’t like ____ right now.”
- “____ is too expensive.” or “I’m broke.” When you say either of these, you tell yourself the thing is permanently unobtainable or you will permanently not have money. Instead, say “I don’t have the money for ____ right now.”
- “I’ve talked to everybody and nobody will ____”. When you say this, you tell yourself to permanently stop talking to people (after all, you’ve talked with every single person in the whole wide world). Instead say, “I talked with 5 people last week and none of them would ____.”
I used to call myself a procrastinator. Not very empowering. When I understood the power of my own words, I stopped. (read my earlier post, “Procrastination is a Choice). I have a business in which I must constantly network and meet new people. I got to a point where the people I had interacted with all the people I knew and needed to meet new people. I don’t have a job so I couldn’t meet people through work. But instead of thinking and saying, “I’ve talk to everybody I know” or “I can’t meet any business-minded people because I’m not in a business environment everyday”, I said aloud, “How can I meet new, business-minded people?” I was lead to the internet where I found free networking events. At the events, I met people who referred me to other websites and events. Now, meeting business-minded people is not a problem for me.
So, stop and think about the words you use when you say something about yourself. Be aware of the words you are using. Do they paint an accurate picture? Do they undermine you or empower you? Watch your mouth!
Question for Comment: For one day, listen and write down the words you use to describe yourself and your life. Are you undermining or empowering yourself?
(originally posted May 5, 2011)