Self-talk: the power of our words

Words have the power to free, to imprison, to express love, hate, sadness, compassion, gratitude, to call someone back, to push someone away, words can make one think, and words can tell so many stories, lies and truths.

Words are one of the most powerful tools we possess.

Today there are words everywhere, published in print and digital media, we are surrounded and consumed by them. This overload of words and information should encourage one to be even more selective of the choice of words and to acknowledge what consequences these words might bring. Psychology Today writes:

“Words cannot change reality, but they can change how people perceive reality. Words create filters through which people view the world around them.”

Hence, words build the way we see the world and perceive the people around us. It is important to acknowledge this power of words, thus choosing the words we use wisely and mindfully. As Dr. Hyder Zahed writes for Huffington Post:

“When we speak we should speak with mindfulness, in a way to solidify peace and compassion in our characters. Not only do our words matter, but also the tone which we use has a huge impact. There are certain rules that should guide all our communications with others. Always speak the truth, avoid exaggerations, be consistent in what you are saying, don’t use double standards in addressing people, don’t use your words to manipulate others, and most importantly do not use words to insult or belittle anyone.”

In addition, words not only leave an impact on people we communicate with, but also on ourselves; the words we use to describe ourselves matter as well. Next time when you are introducing yourself to someone, try and observe what words you use, and how you relate to yourself. If there is any negative connotation, try and change perspective, see about switching some words around. A woman’s career and empowerment coach Sara Fabian wrote for Tiny Buddha about her experience and how the change of the words she used helped her to look at the situation from a different perspective. When Fabian lost her job, instead of calling herself “unemployed”, she decided to:

“eliminate the word ‘unemployed’ from my vocabulary, and I went for more empowering words instead. I was ‘job hunting,’ and ‘looking for better employment opportunities’ while being ‘in transition to a new career.’”

Fabian reminds that one of the best self-care and self-respect tools is being mindful of your self-talk. Be careful, kind and compassionate with words you choose to describe yourself, because these words might empower you or diminish you. One of the best ways to improve your self-talk, is imagine what would you say to your best-friend, would you ever criticise your friend as much as you criticise yourself? Or would you during hard times encourage your friend?

“I came to realise I spent many years punishing myself with disempowering words about who I was. Thinking I wasn’t good enough, perceiving myself as a failure when I was making mistakes, taking myself for granted, unable to acknowledge my achievements, as if ‘anyone could do that’ or ‘it wasn’t anything big or special.’”

This switch in perspective then opens up a room for growth and new possibilities. Words have power; be mindful and choose your words wisely.

“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.”  Confucius