Sometimes words have the power to open a new door to the world. Sometimes they can strike a thrill of fear into your heart. And sometimes, they are just noise flowing over you without making any impact at all. So what makes the difference? And what difference does that make to you?
The power of words lies in your hearing of them. Your buzz words are someone else’s blah words. In fact the words that activate you, for good or evil, do not even stay the same from one time to another. To my great disappointment, that 3 word jotted note I made, to remind myself of an amazing insight I wanted to record, now portrays nothing of particular interest. The ability of particular words to work on you depends on a multitude of factors from your mood, the timing of hearing them, and the issues that are cooking in your life at the moment.
The significance of noticing this effect, though, is that when you get a “ping” from a word or phrase that has power for you, it is a moment of opportunity. If the “ping” is one that feels good, it helps you to identify something you want. You could use it to build an effective affirmation. My friend Coffee Lady (not her real name) is a big believer in repeating affirmations. I have found that doesn’t do anything for me unless I believe it, and I can tell by saying it whether it falls into the category of
a) helpful-the ping feels good and I feel like I could elaborate on it,
b) counterproductive-the ping feels bad and I even hear myself arguing with myself about it or
c) just noise-no ping-no effect.
If the ping feels uncomfortable, it is still an opportunity. This might be in the form of recognizing an issue you want to change in your life, and you can significantly defuse an issue by defusing the power words that bring it up. I owe a significant change in my life to a time when I was feeling quite depressed and my friend Jill turned that experience upside-down by saying, “I prefer to think of it as ‘cocooning’ not ‘depression’.” Just to call it by a more positive name gave me relief immediately, and then I had a new perspective; I could see my feelings as manageable.
What other power do words exert? How about words like “can’t” or “must”. These are coercive words, exaggerations which rob you of a sense of choice. Nothing you say can actually remove your options, but if you say it enough, you begin to feel that way, which is very convincing! (see “Choices”)
Our family had a tongue-in-cheek rule, “Never say always or never!”, because these are usually fighting words. “You always…”, “You never…”. The double whammy, “I always have to…” or , “I never get to…” are a sure sign someone needs to take some breaths and figure out what they are really asking for. Even for adults “always” and “never” can be counted on to push buttons. Always
The words you use, the words you choose are either an accurate assessment of how you see yourself, your life and the world around you, or else they are an old habit. In either case, they can teach you a lot about how you think, and they represent a powerful tool for change as well.