Tweaking Your Words Can Change Your Life

Do you ever feel like you’re being beat over the head with a valuable life lesson yet you’re failing to recognize it or put it into practice?

I’m pretty sure this is happening to me right now.  A couple of different sources have pointed out to me the power of words. What words we use, how we use them and what we listen to.  The language we surround ourselves with has a profound effect on how well we live.  

My due date is tomorrow, so I have been reading and re-reading the birth stories in Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth.  In these stories contractions are referred to as “rushes”.  A small tweak in vocabulary that changes a laboring mom’s perception of each pain from something tight and shrinking to a vision of energy and opening.  How much freedom and relief is available in just that one little word?  Rushes makes things seem much less scary than contractions.

I’ve become aware of my current attitude toward people who are asking me the dreaded question “How are you feeling?”  

DONE!  I am so done with being pregnant.  I want this kid out.  NOW!  How would you be feeling if you had to walk around with a bowling ball wedged in your pelvis and still had to take care of three other smaller humans?!

(Don’t worry, if you have asked me how I am feeling, you are not the only one).

I’m changing my answer to “Ready and excited.”  Just writing that lifts my spirits.

“Ready and excited.”  These words make me feel empowered.  They say you can endure what you need to and good things are happening.

“Done.”  That makes me feel defeated, before I’ve even begun.

Another source that is teaching me about better ways to use words is the good ole Robcast.  Rob Bell is doing a series on the wisdom tradition over the next while and it is SO GOOD.  His most current episode (121) is called Talking.

One of the things Rob talks about in this episode is how other people’s words stick with us.  In our society we have phrases that allow us to save face in the presence of being hurt by words.  They’re just words we say.  Sticks and stones we chant.  But those things simply aren’t true.  Other people’s unkind words hurt.  

When you’re cut open and bleeding it’s possible to be stitched up and put back together.  But you are never the same.  There is pain to deal with, and scarring to bear.  Full healing is a long and sometimes impossible process.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, loving words also stick with us.  I can recall a time when we were in the midst of gutting our first farm house. Things were just staring to come together and look like humans could inhabit the building instead of the pack rat family that had been squatting there.

My dad came to visit, and he said some simple but profound words. “I’m proud of all the work you guys have done here.”

He maybe doesn’t even remember saying that.  But it plays in my brain every now and then and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

The things we say are important.  The words we choose can open up doors to health and light or destruction and darkness.  What we say becomes habit. 

I’m issuing a challenge to you dear reader. Pay attention to what you are saying. Find some negative words that you have adopted and tweak them. See how your new expressions make you feel compared to the old ones. I would love to hear the results of your experiment so leave me a comment either here or on Facebook and tell me what happens.

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