Do you ever hear that little voice inside your head commenting on everything you do in life as it rolls along? Admit it. Everyone does. Occasionally that voice is kind and supportive, but more often it will be downright mean. I sure know mine is! I frequently catch my inner voice saying things I would never utter to a friend or family member. Why are we so hard on ourselves?
That’s way too huge of a nut to crack in this humble post. But one facet that’s worth a few minutes of consideration is how the negative self-talk can get reflected in our speech. There are three words in particular that I hear myself use and am beginning to understand how they impact my view of myself and my relationships with others.
Most of us have heard the sage advice of Yoda, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Powerful words for jedi, as well as us normal folks. Telling someone I will “try” to do something can be a cop-out. It lets me off the hook for not staying true to my word. It’s my excuse to not follow through or take a stand. In the zombie apocalypse, there’s a profound difference in telling your partner…
“I will protect you from this onslaught of the undead!” vs.
“I will TRY to protect you from this onslaught of the undead!”
When I’m standing on a country road surrounded by walking corpses with only a pocketknife in my hand , I sure know which one I’d rather hear.
When I want to cast judgement on myself, feel that I’m not good enough, or think that I’ll never meet expectations of others (or myself), I go straight to “should”.
“I should eat more vegetables” (judgement: I’m fat and unhealthy.)
“I should’ve known that” (judgement: I’m stupid and will never figure this out.)
“I should be more like her” (judgement: She’s better/smarter/prettier than me.)
Tiny adjustments take away judgement and give me power:
“I will eat more vegetables” – I just made a commitment to eat more healthily!
“I’m surprised I didn’t know that” – I just spotted an opportunity to learn something new!
“I’d like to be more like her” – My friends can be positive influences in my life!
Seems like an innocent word, right? However, BUT can be very limiting and stop me from facing new challenges.
“I want to get a better job, but I don’t have money for school.”
“I’d like to make-out with someone tonight, but I don’t have a boyfriend.”
That’s it. I’ve stated something I want, followed by the reason I can’t have it.
Try replacing BUT with AND to see how the same sentences transform:
“I want to get a better job, and I don’t have money for school”…so how can I earn that money?
“I’d like to make-out with someone tonight, and I don’t have a boyfriend”…so I’ll go out with some friends and meet new guys!
Take a few minutes to think about your use of these words. I’m getting more adept at stopping mid-sentence for an attitude adjustment, but I’ve got a long way to go!