Words have power. Do you remember as a child when you asked your parents to take you for ice cream and they said maybe, which in our child like mind meant yes! We would wait and ask again and there would be another maybe. But the answer was not a 'no'. We hung on to that 'maybe' for dear life (as a child). Once a final decision was made, then we were free to express our disappointment or our utter joy.
When do we hang on to words said to us? "You're the best assistant I ever had. I've never seen such a smile like yours that lights up a room. The way you write this report reminds me of how my 10 year old writes his short stories. You're not the right body type for me". And so many more. Why do these words have power? When do we give them power?
In reference to the positive affirmations, we hold on to those to give us confidence and bring into many other situations. These positive and powerful words can impact us like no other. Except maybe the negative affirmations. The negative affirmations, in my humble opinion, offer us a choice to agree or not agree. Just like the positive affirmations.
I had a client who was told in a class that she was brilliant. In her black and white way of thinking she said, "No, I'm not brilliant, that is how I think and speak every day". Isn't it interesting, that we can so easily dismiss a compliment or word of positivity directed to us or something we've done. Why do we do this?
In this particular case, the client said to me she could not take 'compliments' such as this; because she was cynical at the intention it was given. She felt the instructor gave that compliment to others often, which to her felt like it was fake or something used for everyone. Interesting.
In the case of the comment "The way you write this report reminds me of how my 10 year old writes his short stories". How would one take this? In this world of thinking negative before positive, one may jump right to wow, that was harsh. As someone who writes reports, that statement may stay with that person indefinitely. Why would we hold on to this statement?
We have those voices/phrases/words in our heads when we start to do new things, a first job, a first date, start a business or something completely off the radar. Thoughts jump into place and completely sabotage our thinking when we finally feel we are finding our feet and moving forward. Think of the analogy when we are up to bat, we are feeling confident we can hit the ball, we see it coming towards us. We have been working on this batting technique for weeks and it is finally the day we get to crush that ball. We firmly grab the bat, elbow is up and then we blow out a breath and swing the bat. And we miss. Well shit! What happens at this moment? We hear every crappy word we've ever heard from others or ourselves in that instant.
Here's the best part. This is where we get to decide what we accept and what we don't. Holding on to those 'powerful' words heard from our parents, siblings, friends, kids or others is the ultimate miss. In this moment, we have the power to put up the stop sign and listen for our voice. I did my best (insert positive affirmation you've heard before here). It sucks and I have more work to do and it will be awesome next time. Or we can accept the 'I suck at this game, I'm never doing this again'. "My old coach was right, I'll never amount to anything".
What about those powerful words we hear in our relationships? The ones we take to heart? What do we do with those words? In the moment they are said, do they have meaning? Do we romanticize those feelings to stay with us forever? Do we trust the message delivered to us in those beautiful moments? Yes of course we do. Who doesn't want to hear words of love or friendship or that we are the best at something for someone we have feelings for? But in that moment, is when those words existed and were delivered with meaning. At least I want to believe that. So when and if the relationship breaks down, we tend to go back to those words, wondering, tormenting ourselves, blaming and feeling inadequate or just down right feeling sad. What happened that those words no longer hold the same message as the first time they were said? I believe that they were true in their first noticeable moment. However, as we grow, situations and relationships tend to grow with us or stay the same.
A flower starts out as a bud, then it tends to blossom either slowly or overnight with the right ingredients of light, water, love/nurturing and dirt. Words tend to be the same. Our words can be delivered in forms of buds. These buds then grow in our mind. Do we use the same ingredients with these words? Do we use love and nurturing? Do we water and give the words light? As that bud grows in our minds eye, do we have an expectation that it will grow always and last forever? Or do we plant other buds, do we watch this bud blossom, age and fall away in a moment?
Words can be the same. We have the choice on what and how we accept the words, the power of the words and the evidence behind the words. As well as the choice to add our voice to the words we need to hear the most.
What words do you need to hear that will power you up? What words hold power for you, either positively or negatively What buds do you grow and nurture?
Words have power.