Words And Thoughts Have Power
Even though they might seem relatively innocuous, our words and
thoughts do, indeed, have a lot of power and in fact determine what our own
We are not the first to recognize this fact. In fact, wise people throughout the
ages have seen just how prevalent this is. For example, William Blake, the poet,
said, "We become what we behold." The Buddha himself said, "With
our thoughts we make our world." These are just two of the wise minds that
have seen this process evidence in action.
What words to use, then, that can create this kind of power?
Let's take the often used phrase, "Yes, but." In effect, what you are
doing is trying to overcome someone else's opinion by suppressing it. In effect,
what you have just done is completely discounted their opinion with the word
"but." If you are someone who does this often (or even occasionally),
it really blocks you from being able to communicate effectively with other
people, and is also not particularly fair to that person. If you would not use
this, you could simply acknowledge the other person's point of view and send the
message that although you might not agree with the other person's point of view,
you still allow the other person his or her full power. In other words, you
don't want to disempower anyone else even if you disagree with his or her idea.
You can overcome this by saying, "Yes, and" instead of, "Yes,
but." The word "and" is inclusive, and allows for both opinions
to be present and equally valid. It also allows for much more open communication
to flow, instead of blocking it.
Your self-talk, too, can be either and powering or disempowering. For example,
do you say to yourself a lot of the time that you "must" or "have
to" do something? This indicates that you think you have no choice in the
matter, when, of course, you do. This type of self-talk disempowers you. If you
listen to others talk, you sometimes also can sense this feeling of
disempowerment in them.
If you want to change this self talk so that you realize you have a choice in
the matter and thus to empower yourself, first, keep track of how often you say
the words "should" or "must." These usually instill feelings
of guilt or obligation, and thus some this empowerment to a least some extent.
Other more general words that also hinder communication are "never,"
"forever," and "always." First of all, it is rarely true
that something is "always" or "never" true. There are almost
always exceptions. Therefore, if you or someone else is using the words
"never" or "always," you are generalizing and not truly
handling the matter at hand in reality. For better communication, avoid this
type of generalization when you speak with someone.
Another word it's usually good to avoid if you can is "try." Of
course, if you don't know whether or not you can do something, then you are
going to "try" to do something. You won't know whether you can are or
not until you try something if you haven't attempted it before. However, for
communication situations, it's usually best to avoid this word because if you
say you are going to "try" to get a task done for someone, you are not
committing yourself to it. Therefore, you should say you either can or cannot do
it. By stating whether or not you can firmly, you commit yourself to an answer
one way or the other.
The more careful you are with the words and phrases used, the better your
communication can be. You'll find that just a little attention to these areas
will greatly enhance your communications with others and may even transform your
relationships in general. Watch and see what happens. You just might be amazed.
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of My-Personal-Growth.com, a site
that provides information and articles for self improvement and personal growth
and development. http://www.my-personal-growth.com
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