If I were to ask you, “What language are you using?” how would you respond? I imagine most folks would say something like, “English” or “Spanish” or list some other language at which they are proficient. I doubt many would respond with something like “negative”, “self-defeating”, or “discouraging”. In fact, I doubt many people give much thought to what type of message their language is conveying beyond the words they speak. The language we chose to use is powerful, and has a significant impact on our thinking and our outlook on life, as well as our influence on others.
Take a moment and think about the language you use. Do you have favorite “go-to” phrases you often rely on in your conversations? What language do you chose to use in describing the world around you? Does your language consist of phrases like:
- “That’s just not in the cards for me.”
- “What’s the point?”
- “Another day older and further in debt.”
- “The little man just can’t get ahead.”
Consider the impact a diet of this type of language has your thinking, and on your outlook on life. Regular use of this kind of negative language can become a vicious circle in your life. It’s like this…
- You use negative language that sends a discouraging message…
- With continued use of this language, you start to believe the negative messages you’re sending…
- As you begin believing the negative language you’re using, your thinking changes to incorporate these negative thoughts and beliefs…
- You use even more negative language…
Where does it end? Furthermore, what kind of people will this kind of language cause us to become?
What if we were to watch our language for the next week with the intent of making it more positive and encouraging? What if we actually gave thought to the type of language we use and chose our words and phrases as carefully as we chose our next smart phone or automobile? I’m certainly not saying we have to stop and spend several minutes contemplating everything before we say it. What I am saying is that using positive (or negative) language is a habit, and we should be mindful enough to ensure that our language serves to improve our outlook and thinking as well as to lift up and encourage ourselves and those we interact with. Ultimately, we want to build the habit of using positive language.
If you need some help watching your language, cause something to happen by focusing on the following:
- Begin replacing negative phrases with ones that are more positive and uplifting. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll never be able to do that.” Say, “I don’t know how to do that… yet.”
- Be mindful of the triggers that cause your language to be negative. Maybe it’s events, locations, or certain people. When you know you’ll be exposed to one of these triggers, decide in advance that you’ll use language that is positive. Maybe it’s even time to remove some of these triggers from your life.
- Remove words from your vocabulary that have a negative connotation and consider reducing or eliminating profanity in your communication.
If you’ve been in the habit of using negative language, and you seek to use more positive language, realize that the change won’t occur overnight. It will require continuous effort, but don’t let that stop you. Stick with it! For as you begin to watch your language, and consciously choose to make it more positive and uplifting, note the change that is also occurring in your thinking and your outlook on life. Changing our language for the better will change our thinking for the better as well. And changing our thinking is the beginning of great things.
To begin, we need only to watch our language.