The magic of language is that language is magic. To influence the natural processes that are going on in your mind, just changing your language, the words that you choose to use, can really influence your personal power. You can set up a changed mindset, from negative to positive, unresourceful to resourceful by being more conscious about the language you choose. Learning how to be fully conscious about the language you use when you talk to yourself means that you can start to construct your internal language on purpose, enabling you to get in control of your emotions and your unconscious behaviour.
Ask yourself, ‘what is the nature of the words that I'm using to talk to myself?’ Are you being judgmental? Perhaps beating yourself up linguistically in your own head? Criticising yourself in a very harsh voice? When you do that, the words directly change your internal representations of your world, impacting your physiology your physical wellbeing and how you feel, which of course, dictates your behaviour.
Let's think of some common, everyday words, which actually reduce your choices in the world. You have used all of them, you have probably used some of them today. I would like you to begin to be conscious of what those little words really mean. When you speak, unconsciously, you annunciate your surface structure of meaning. Sitting behind that surface structure is a deeper structure of meaning. The deeper structure of meaning is working within your neurology, it is operating within your internal representation and creating your state. Even though you are using the words quite innocently to the outside, actually inside, they are really having an impact.
It is the deep structure of meaning that your unconscious mind becomes aware of. Let's have a look at some of these words. As you will see, they are very common.
How many times have you said ‘can't’? I’m sure somebody else has said it to you! I wonder if your Mum or Dad ever said to you, ‘there's no such thing as can’t!’. You know they were saying that in a very supportive and positive way with very positive intentions for you, weren't they? And they were right. If you expand out, grammatically speaking, the word can't you get ‘can not’. So, when you say ‘can’t’, you are actually saying, ‘I can do the process of not'. You are exercising the choice of not, you're choosing not to. ‘Can't’ has a far deeper meaning than it does on the surface. Every time you say, ‘I can't do that’ in the future, think about the choice you are making. Are you really communicating, ‘I don't want to do that’ or are you saying, ‘I'm choosing not to do that’? Either way, it's a choice.
Try, when you really think about it logically, is a nothing word. There is no such thing as ‘trying’ and there is a lot of logical grounding in that. Play with me for a moment. Put a pen on the table in front of you, now ‘try’ to pick it up. What did you do? You either picked up the pen or you didn't. Either way, you did one thing or the other, there was no middle ground of ‘try’. When people say, ‘I tried to do it’. No, they didn't. They either did it or they didn't do it. It's a digital outcome. In English language, ‘try’ has become a word that you say when you want to say no politely! If somebody says to you, ‘are you coming to the pub tonight?’ and you don’t want to go, you say, ‘I'll try’, then when you don’t turn up, you have already given your excuse. You either intend to go or not.
But and however
‘But’ is a quite destructive three letter word and you use it all the time. When I learned to take that word out of my language, I was absolutely astonished how much change it made, both to the way I felt inside and to the way others responded to me outside. What I learned to do instead was to use the word ‘and’ to fill the space that ‘but’ would have occupied, or just put a comma, a pause. The word ‘but’ is so unhelpful because it cancels out everything you said before it. When you say to somebody, ‘I understand what you're saying, but…’ the ‘understand what you're saying’ is deleted in the consciousness of the listener. Now they are waiting uncomfortably for the disagreement, criticism and judgement to arrive. If anybody has ever given you feedback with a ‘but’, it doesn't feel good dies it? You hear, ‘I thought you did really well, but…’ and now you are thinking, ‘here comes the negative criticism!’. Anything that is said prior to the word ‘but’ is completely cancelled from awareness. It's like you are saying, ‘I've just said something and it wasn't the truth. Now I'm going to tell you the truth’.
If the feedback was constructed differently, you respond to it differently. Apply this to yourself, ‘you did really well this morning, and…’ Now that feels different doesn’t it, you know something else is coming and it is going to be helpful. ‘I understand what you're saying and…’, something helpful is on its way.
Have to, must and need to
When you say, ‘I have to’, ‘I must’, ‘I need to’, you are expressing necessity and lack of choice at the deeper level of meaning. The thing is, you always have choice, even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it, you will discover the choice if you look for it. Every time you say these words, you are telling yourself, ‘I have no choice in my life’. ‘I've got to go to this job that I hate because I have to pay the mortgage’. That isn’t the language of a resourceful, powerful mindset. It's the language of somebody who feels that these are the cards I've been dealt and I've just got to work with them. The reality is, you have choice, you can always make changes, you can always make a different choice. It might be difficult and challenging, it might mean stepping out of that comfort zone and you can do it if you are motivated to do so. If you have got the right mindset and you have got your personal power, then it becomes so much easier.
When you use the word ‘impossible’, you are saying, ‘I have a belief system, which says something is not possible for me’. A positive, powerful mindset is an open mindset that believes in possibility. There is always a way of you have the sensory acuity to recognise opportunity.
Now let’s focus on the opposite side of the coin, words that you can use which increase your choice in the world.
I can, I will, I want to
These are words of possibility. Using possibility language makes a huge difference, both inside and outside. Using phrases like, ‘I want to do this’, ‘I've chosen to do this’ is extremely empowering because they put you at ‘cause’ for your results. For example, when someone asks, ‘Have you done that?’ and you say, ‘No, I didn't have time to do that’, what you are actually saying is, ‘I chose not to do that, because I had other things that were my priority’. If you were to use that language, you will feel far more powerful than being at ‘effect’ and making excuses.
I'm able to, I am, it's possible, I do, I decide, I choose to
These common word phrases that you use every day, increase your perception of choice in the world and broaden out your possibilities. Of course, they will positively impact your internal representation, which will get more resourceful, more positive in its nature, which then improves your physical health, which then improves your emotional condition and it produces different behaviour.
This is a natural process. The magical thing is that behavioural change doesn't have to be difficult and it doesn't have to take a long time. If you use the natural process that your brain uses to learn, change can happen delightfully quickly. Start getting conscious of the language that you use in your own mind and once you have adjusted the language that you direct towards yourself, you can start to think about the language that you direct towards other people and how that affects them. Think of it this way. Every time you speak, you change the way somebody else feels. Wouldn't it be magical if every time you spoke, you impacted someone's internal representation positively? Isn't that a gift. If you use your language in a certain way that will have other people start to feel more resourceful and more positive, wouldn't the world be a better place?