Language is a wonderful thing. The words and sentences that you use have so much meaning: they determine (partly) how you present yourself in the world, how you come across and the extent to which you value yourself. That is why I always pay attention to the language used by my clients and why I sometimes motivate them to use a different formulation. One that is more loving and less self-critical, for example.The language you use can make you feel small or powerful. It can make you feel motivated or demotivated. Language can do all that, which means it can be used on your personal growth journey. When you use your language consciously, you enable yourself to experience more personal leadership, inner strength, space, mindfulness, freedom of choice and self-compassion or self-esteem. This may sound too good to be true, but in reality it’s pretty simple. In this blogpost I explain how you can use your language as a means for personal growth.
From belittling yourself to taking up space
Diminutive words can have a negative effect when they relate to yourself. For example, you refer to your small business, instead of just your business. Or you talk about your little idea, instead of just your idea. What happens in these examples? You belittle yourself. Perhaps you do this because you have learned that you should not be difficult, should not have too many wishes and should not take up too much space. Making yourself smaller is a handy strategy. Do you recognize this? Then it is time to learn to take up space. You can start doing this by being mindful about your use of language, simply by avoiding diminutives (when referring to yourself). It can be quite uncomfortable at first, which is a good indication of you stepping out of your comfort zone towards personal growth!
Distancing yourself from negative thoughts and statements
Negative thoughts and statements have a lasting effect. For example, if I often think and say that I am stupid, I will increasingly believe I am actually stupid. I will identify more and more with the idea (I think I am stupid, so I am stupid) and it then becomes increasingly complicated to be aware that this thought is in fact just a thought. As it is quite impossible to just stop having negative thought, it is best to focus on dealing with them mindfully and constructively. You can do that by saying: “I notice that I think I am stupid” instead of “Im am stupid” (or something else of course). Do you feel the difference? Talking this way about yourself and your thoughts creates awareness and helps you to not identify with them. Also, you will feel so much better once you recognize that you are so much more than just those annoying thoughts.
Experience more freedom of choice and autonomy
It is very normal to say “I can’t” or “I don’t have time” to a request that demands your time. But when you think about it, there’s really no such thing as ‘can’t’ or not having time. There’s always time and you can always choose what you do with your time. The moment you think you can’t or don’t have time, this means that you have (unknowingly) already made a choice. For example, you choose to go to work, to exercise or to meet social obligations. And by making those choices, you also choose not to make time for other things. Saying that you do not have time can make you feel at the mercy of something that lies outside yourself. You can even feel like a victim of your agenda. By choosing different words, you allow yourself to feel in control and to experience more freedom of choice and autonomy. For example, I prefer to say that I already have an obligation, that something just isn’t convenient, that I want to do something else or that I prefer a different moment. I feel more powerful when I communicate like this.
Allow yourself room for growth
I often hear my clients say that they are just very bad at something, cannot do something or that something will never work out. They are understandable statements and I think that everyone has thought and said the same at some point. They are also firm statements in which a disqualification is hidden. And that is a shame, because if you disqualify yourself there is a chance that you will give up. But whatever is not working out right now as you would like, might very well work out in the future. You might want to try saying things like: so far it has not been successful. Or: I haven’t been able to do it yet, but I am still practicing. Allow yourself space to grow and choose your words wisely.
I am curious if you are going to be more mindful about your language after reading this blogpost. If you want to ask or add anything: please feel free to comment below. In any case, I wish you a wonderful personal growth journey!
Intuitive Life coach | Hart & Ziel Coaching | the Hague