I confess words can hurt me…I never understood that “stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” rhyme. Words can hurt and words can inspire. Words translate into physical sensations, visual images, thoughtful reflections and inspiring blog posts.
The Impact of Words
When we receive words they trigger a spontaneous reaction that has emotional feelings shaped by our past and our degree of investment. In a conscious or subconscious way we choose our participation with words. We interpret, react, reflect, process, evaluate, judge, translate, and we make associations with words.
Messages go through us with a charge attached to them. A negative charge ignites fear, anger, frustration, disappointment, and other feelings of discomfort. A positive charge ignites excitement, desire, attachment, pleasure, and other positive emotions. We can also be indifferent to words and exhibit disinterest or lack of involvement. The more strongly positive or negative the emotional response the higher the charge attached to the words.
The stronger the emotional response the more intense the search for meaning in the message.
A Healthy Search for Meaning
How we process the words is how we find the meaning in the message. When we can process in a way that creates positive associations, ideas, and reflections that ignite gratitude we set ourselves up to create a positive chain reaction.
Step 1: Process (do not judge) your reaction to words. This means to make the connections and associations that give insight into your reaction and response to the message. What are the emotional responses being triggered by the words? Explore the associations, ideas and reflections. Be grateful for the insight and knowledge from this exploration.
Step 2: Create depth and a greater intimacy with your ability to respond gratefully. Go to your past, what memories are coming to the surface? Come back to your present, what are the facts of the situation? With gratitude create a positive future, with gratitude consider the insight you have gained, the ideas that have been inspired, and the action you will take.
Step 3: Reflect on what you have processed to create a healthy relationship. Pause to congratulate yourself for processing and not judging the words. Have you ever been in that situation where you handled yourself unusually calm and collected? This is the state you will find yourself in as you reflect on what you have processed. You did not respond with a judgment that strains relationships and self-esteem, you processed the words, your reaction to them, and now can respond with a grateful new perspective.
Step 4: Articulate your gratitude with accountability. Now is the time for an outward response. When we can communicate how we relate to a message with honest gratitude we build connection and intimacy with others and communicate even boundary setting messages that build relationships.
Give Yourself a Linguistic Makeover:
Words create a focus. Ever notice what you focus on tends to happen? Your brain is paying attention. Use powerful words that keep you and your mind focused and engaged in increasing your gratitude. Use these three steps to give yourself a linguistic makeover:
Step 1: Create your own linguistic style of gratitude. Identify the words and perspectives you use that counteract gratitude. Do you use dismissive language (dumb luck, in the right spot at the right time) when something good happens to you? Use the words of the grateful: “gift”, “blessed”, “fortunate”, “abundance”, and “thank you”.
Step 2: Ask yourself what your language is bringing into your life. Are you attracting positives or negatives? Are you inspiring others or turning others off? The words you use will ignite positive actions from others or cause others to steer clear. Give it a try; turn up the positivity in your language the next time you are at the grocery store or dining out and you will bring more smiles into your life.
Step 3: Stop yourself when you find yourself dismissing a blessing. Transform to kind words that ignite gratitude. Do not judge the good deeds of others or dismiss the blessings that come into your life. Graciously accept the good deed others have done on your behalf. Transform your speech by using words like “thank” and “you” together and often.
The words we use transform the way we show up in the world and the way we interact with others. Today’s Simple Smile Igniter is to consider your hidden power, your words. Are you using your words to bring a greater sense of gratitude and happiness into your life or are your own words robbing you of your own joy? What is one thing you can start doing that will bring more gratitude into your life simply through your words?