How to Use Yours Words to Change Your Life
Words. We all have them in one fashion or another. They allow us to communicate with each other. They also carry a hidden power far beyond what most people are aware of.
From the time we are born, we are learning to communicate with others. No matter our language, or if we use our mouth, our hands, or some other way to shape our words, we are building more than a way to communicate with other people. We are framing how we perceive life.
The Invisible Cage
Have you ever been around someone who never seems to have anything positive to say? There's always a steady stream of drama circulating in their life - which they happily proclaim to anyone within earshot (or on their social feed). Have you noticed how you feel after interacting with this person? Now contrast that with someone you know who doesn't complain, and seems to have their life together. They are quick to thank you and point out good qualities in others. How do you feel after interacting with that person?
Without realizing it, the first person built themselves an invisible cage from the constant flow of negative thoughts and words. When our words don't serve our joy or the joy of others (because we are all one - another article for another day), they are limiting. The limits of our thoughts and words are the limits of our world, and we are left to reside in the cage they have built for us. The pattern for faith-based, joyful living or fear-based misery is the same: We think, we speak, we feel, we behave - we repeat.
Thoughts Are Words
The thoughts in your head are made up of words. They are the inner-ramblings of your ego. If English isn't your first language, when you are thinking or dreaming, are those thoughts and dreams in your native tongue? Most people's are. Although it may seem inconsequential and obvious, the very first thing you need to understand and remember is this - your thoughts are made up of the words you think. Thoughts are simply words.
Words Have Meaning
If I were to tell you I was eating an apple, you likely wouldn't picture a lemon. Likewise, if I were to use the word damp, you would probably have a different reaction than if I said moist. They are two words with similar definitions, but a very large number of people dislike the second word because it holds a different meaning for them. Pay attention to how you react to different words and ask yourself what is it about the word that causes a reaction. Use your words intentionally. Practicing this is the key to unlocking your invisible cage. In the words of Deepak Chopra, "Attention energizes, intention transforms."
Meaning Has Attachment
When something holds meaning for you, an attachment is created. My husband and I had a long-running misunderstanding over text because of the meaning the word sure held for each of us. For me, saying "sure" when answering yes to something meant I definitely wanted to do it and was excited about it. To him, it meant I was okay with it, but it didn't sound appealing. Two VERY different meanings were attached to the same word. It took weeks for me to figure out why he would always reply "we don't have to, if you don't want to" after I would respond with a "sure." We cleared that up, but could you imagine the fight it could have been if I hadn't been aware and mindful that words have different meanings for different people based on our life experiences? The meaning we attach to a word is what gives it power.
Attachment Creates Feelings
A question I'm often asked is: Why does the meaning we attach to a word give it power? The power lies in the emotion that comes with that attachment. You cannot have attachment without emotion. Just as you cannot have peace without detachment. Attachment is a form of control. It is also a form of auto-pilot. When we were young, we attached meaning to objects, words, people, places, and other things, that allowed us to make sense of and feel safe in the world around us. As we grew, that attachment gave us a sense of control, because we thought we knew the way the world worked. It became part of our subconscious programming. Here's the problem. When we are kids, we didn't know if our attachment was harmful or helpful to us. We just knew it made us feel safe and made things make sense in the environment we lived in. As adults, we get to question those childhood attachments and let go of the ones that are not serving us. Every disserving attachment we correct removes a bar in our cage.
How to Create Your Freedom
I've talked about the importance of using our words with attention and intention. It's a lot to take in, I get it. Take time to practice the steps below. With time and consistency, you will master them.
Remember your thoughts are made up of words. Choose your words carefully. Use words that bring you light (positive) energy over words that bring you heavy (negative) energy.
Journal Prompt: Write down 2 or 3 thoughts you find yourself continually repeating throughout the day. To do this, you will need to pay attention to your thoughts. Are they thoughts that serve you and bring you happiness? If not, come up with a new thought you are going to replace them with. Something meaningful like, "I am loved and worth loving." is a great thought if you are constantly belittling yourself.
Be aware of the words you speak and choose your words intentionally. Don't say, "I'm fine" or "I'm hanging in there" when someone asks how you're doing. Say, "I'm remarkably happy, thank you." Then feel the difference between your old phrase and your new, intentional one.
Journal Prompt: Make a list of words and phrases you use that don't serve you, then come up with a list of new words and phrases to replace them. Have fun and be creative! The more descriptive the new word or phrase and the more it invokes a powerful, light (positive) response, the better!
Pay attention to the emotions that come along with the words you're speaking and thinking. Choose words that feel powerful and joyful to you while asking yourself why the word you were previously using no longer serves you.
Journal Prompt: What are some attachments you've had to words? Make a list of words and phrases you have held deep attachment to. What experiences did you have that led to this attachment? How can you reframe this word or phrase to give it a new attachment? Attachments don't have to take time to break, but they will if you are not ready to release them. Don't push it. You will know when you are ready. :)
The feeling of consciously creating the life you desire by using your words with attention and intention is like looking down on the expanse of a beautiful valley and knowing the peace you feel at the top of the mountain is only a part of the joy you'll experience when you go back down into the paradise you've been creating. No more cages.