Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers. ~ Cesar Chavez
The language you use is one of the greatest influencers of experience in your life. Behind the words you speak to others and say to yourself lives a hidden world of intentions, personal history, beliefs and conditioning and emotions that color the quality of your communication, shape your actions and deliver the outcomes you see in your world. Your choice of language is key to how you succeed and thrive in life.
Speaking to Others
Your use of language, its meaning and its delivery is formed throughout your life by such factors as your exposure to family environment (yelling and emotional outbursts? Quiet and aloof connection?); social conditioning (etiquette, local customs); and exposure to cultural norms and politics (education, peer pressure). Every human being’s foundational communication is formed in the same way, which makes language a tricky landscape to navigate.
Not everyone thinks like you. How you share what you mean is the critical responsibility of language and it takes conscious awareness of the biases and judgments that drive you and the other person to arrive at any clarity in a conversation.
Speaking to Yourself
What you say to yourself about yourself and about the world also shapes your language. If you are optimistic and positive, then the words you hear in your head about life and about possibility will sound like – yes, okay, ease, good enough. If you hold beliefs that life is difficult and always about strife and struggle, you will translate those beliefs into the words that filter those emotions into your consciousness and shape your self-image.
Language matters and it is changeable. Here are some tips to shift your language so life can give you more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.
- Change the delivery – adjust the volume, tone, rate of speed of your words
- Identify yours and others’ language styles to understand the meaning and message in a conversation – direct? Indirect? Humorous? Curious? Apologetic?
- Become aware of the emotion fuelling yours and others’ speech – fear? Anger? Shame?
- Recognise your inner language –take time to listen internally. What are the top three words you consistently say to yourself?
- Use high-energy words that describe what you want from your life and say them often to yourself and to others- adventure, joy, okay, free, exercise, play, love.
- Change any negative and fear-based messages from painful to pleasant.
- Commit to using curiosity, empathy and compassion when you speak. Let respect for yourself and for others guide your inner and outer language.
- Train your brain to have more heart! Pause and take a breath before putting your language machine in gear. What are your intentions? Emotions? What outcomes do you most want?
- Add more love words to your language
- Choose to change unconscious, unclear habitual language that clouds what you really want to say:
- Delete the preamble such as: “this may be wrong but…”
- Relinquish the need to over-apologise – “soooo sorry”
- Remove the fumble-and-fill-in words – kinda, sorta like, ummm
- Be direct, get to the point by excluding distracting information
- Break the habit of expressing inauthentic emotions – smiling when you are actually sad or angry
- Cease to ask permission or seek validation for your shared opinions by asking … right? What do you think?
- Listen more deeply to the context and intention of what you receive from others and be aware of the same in how you respond.
When you realise that language is not benign, it changes how you frame your inner and outer communication. Getting your most authentic message across to yourself and to others happens when you become conscious of the influences on what you say and what others hear. You have the choice through deliberate and aware language to bring emotional, mental and spiritual harmony to all your relationships, especially the one you have with yourself.
What you say and how you say it matters because it tells others who you are and what you value in life ~ Chad E. Cooper