You talk to yourself more than anyone else in the whole world, you spend the most time with yourself, are the words you’re using kind and supporting, or are they demeaning? Would you speak to others in the same tone and language, would you use the same language with your best friend or a child? The truth is, we can be our own worst enemy, we can be vile and disrespectful in ways that we would never dream of doing to another person, so why do we tolerate it towards ourselves? The problem with most habits is that we don’t even notice we are doing it, until we shift our perception and start paying attention to our language and daily routine, or until someone points these things out to us, we carry on as we were because that’s what we’re used to doing, we are creatures of habit and habits can be changed.
I know when I’ve been at my worst the dialogue in my head has been horrific, derogatory nastiness aimed almost entirely at myself and for what? Nothing good has ever come from these encounters, but when I started to look at it from another angle that’s when things started to shift, it gave me a starting point and that’s what we all need, a starting point and a desire to make subtle changes that set us on a higher path. I’m not saying that being positive and avoiding the use of negative language will cure you of all life’s ills, but it will make a huge difference in the way you perceive yourself and with practice you will naturally increase your feelings of self-worth.
"Every word you speak supports your perceived reality. Don’t put words to the subjects you do not want to add momentum to." – Abraham-Hicks
What is negative language?
There are some words that really disempower us, they may not look significant, but words have the power to shape our reality, they shape our thoughts which create emotions and emotions are simply a form of energy, energy can fuel us and it can also leave us feeling drained, essentially negative words drain us of our strength whilst positive ones empower us.
Here are some common negative words that often get overlooked and overused;
I’m afraid I can’t do that or I’m afraid that’s not possible, why? What makes you afraid, or is this simply a habit that is subtly inviting fear into your life?
When you say “I can’t”, even if it’s only in your thoughts, you set yourself up for failure, because it means you give up, as soon as you use this word you’re admitting defeat, the universe matches our beliefs, is can’t something you can afford to keep in your vocabulary?
This really says I’m not committed, that you’ll give it a go, but if it doesn’t work then that’s OK. Remember the difference between try and triumph is a little oomph, why not switch this out for “I intend to”.
All words carry a vibrational frequency and hate is amongst the lowest of them all, it’s polar opposite is love which is the lightest of all words and emotions. Switch out hate for I strongly dislike.
This is a pretty irrelevant word, if we look back on something and say “I should have done it differently” maybe so, but it’s gone now and no matter how many times you look back you’re not going to change anything with a should.
Should pops up a lot within negative self-talk and when it is aimed at another person it comes across as judgemental.
The brain does not understand don’t, therefore, this word creates the opposite of what we desire. If I say to you now “Don’t think of a purple pig,” what image came to your mind?
This list is by no means conclusive, therefore I challenge you to observe your current language choices and the way in which you speak to yourself, and to make a list of your own, while you’re there, why not consider the words you would like to introduce so you can do a straight swap.
How to change your negative language
This won’t happen overnight but it can happen quickly once you’re aware of the words you no long want to be using. There are many different routes to take, but success will always come from awareness and remembering to be mindful with your dialogue. The next time you catch yourself saying one of the above words or one of the words on your list, or even a new word that comes to your attention, acknowledge the word and replace it with what you do want. Saying things like ‘change’ out loud when you notice you’ve said an old word can help, the act of saying change alerts you that something needs to change, sounds simple and it is, we as humans like to overcomplicate the simple things, when we resist the urge to complicate the simple we can experience rapid transformation and personal growth.
I did this with the word urm when I started to do more public speaking, within weeks I had almost totally removed this filler word from my vocabulary, instead of saying urm I now pause briefly, take a breath and continue, this may not be a word that’s negative, but it made me feel like I didn’t know what I was talking about, therefore it made me feel disempowered, taking back control with minor changes like this really helps to amplify anything that’s out of balance, once you get started it’s interesting to see what words and mannerisms pop up for review.
Be consistent, it took time to develop your current dialogue and it will take time to alter it, small consistent actions will make a huge difference over time, so keep at it and congratulate yourself when you take action to change.
Reframing, I use this technique for myself and for my clients, it’s versatile and offers a different way of looking at things, as I work a lot with neurodiverse individuals I am going to use household chores as an example here, the neurodiverse brain (autism, adhd, add etc…) can struggle with higher cognitive functions, it works beautifully when it’s engaged, yet if the task is boring or mundane it can take an inordinate amount of time to complete, or it just gets put off and we procrastinate instead, procrastination then leads to feelings of failure and a cycle of negative language is born. So what type of thing can we reframe? Let’s take washing up and clearing up the kitchen after meals as an example, instead of thinking ‘I don’t want to’ change this to ‘I get to’ let’s see how this looks.
I don’t want to wash up
I get to wash up
Thinking of these mundane tasks as resetting the room can also be of great use. Resetting the kitchen after a meal so that the next time you go in you’re ready to get cooking, tidying the bathroom after using it so you can just use the room the next time you’re in there. When you pair these actions with your new words ‘I get to wash up and reset the kitchen, so it’s clean when I come down in the morning’ you start to create a new energy around not only the tasks but the language in which you’re using.
Another suggestion is to do something your future self will thank you for, will your future self be thankful to walk into a clean and tidy kitchen in the morning, after you took the time to reset it the night before, meaning that all you need to do now is make your hot drink and wake up, rather than needing to tidy up from the night before.
There are many different ways to reclaim our personal power, our internal dialogue is a really effective place to start, if you’ve had the misfortune of being in an abusive relationship you start to think that the lies your abuser feeds you are true, this is the same when you’re feeding your mind untruths, love and nurture yourself as if you were your own best friend, find your inner child and love him or her and see how you flourish and grow.
If you would like any further guidance on how to start moving forwards, feel free to message me, I love hearing from you and I’d love to support you in your journey to empowerment.