"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."
- Luke 6:45
The words we speak are important. They either show respect or they don't.
They have the power to create health.
But I think of the words that have often been said to me (and others) by doctors in the
past three years.
I consulted with a specialist re atherosclerosis. “There is nothing we can do. You have to
expect it at your age.” Really? Yet friends in another NHS area both with atherosclerosis far
worse than mine were given surgery and a new lease of life.
Diabetes – for 20 years it has been a question of get my glucose levels monitored and prescribed medication and insulin usually with the words, “it’s a progressive disease. It has dreadful end consequences of gangrene, amputation, blindness. So be careful.” Really? And no mention of how it can be reversed through diet and exercise.
Pain – never diagnosed – and offered pain killers. (NB the language – killers.) and the words, “Pain is difficult to diagnose so get used to it.”
I recall the day we accompanied my younger sister who was getting her first set of results for lung cancer. The consultant said he had a long list to go through and so he ploughed on and on, never looking at my sister, never noticing she was wilting and simply not taking the information in, We had to stop him. His way of delivering his words was, quite frankly, inappropriate - it was mechanical and more about his list than the impact on the patient. He quickly moved to talk of “dying from cancer” and nothing to do with ”living with cancer.” The focus was on the chemotherapy having a 15% success rate. No hope offered. Perhaps there was none to be given, but a “I’m really sorry about this news and that there is little hope I can offer” would be better than, “Nothing else we can do.”
How we phrase words is key
How we phrase words, connect them together, say them, the tone we use
to say them are all important, nowhere more so than at times of emergency dying
and death, and serious health issues.
People take in more not just from the words we speak but from our non-verbal
body language, how we say things, how we look and behave when we say them!
It is often quoted that in any message, the words alone count for only 7% of the
Words are energetic. They carry either positive, negative or neutral energy!
I couldn't care less
Am I bothered?
I want to help.
Break up Build up
Words can be emitted (ie spoken or written) or just held in our thoughts. Whichever, they are energetically sent out into the ether and have an impact. Think of flirting. So little is initially said by words but more about proximity, eye contact, use of lips, gentle touch on clinking glasses! But people pick up on how we use language, how we use words. For every action (ie every word) there is a reaction! Is the flirting saying "I'd like to know you better," or "I want to go to bed with you?"
Slovenly language corrodes the mind.
John Q. Adams.
Those who write as they speak, even though they speak well, write badly.
Comte de Buffon, Discours sur le style, 1753.
Sloppiness in the use of language
We have become careless with our use of language; we engage in text speak and unless the receiver knows our particular form of text speak, they are left to guess. Therein lies the route to miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Some are lazy in their use of language– they just dash things off and expect the receiver to pick up on the meaning – open to interpretation. They blame the text-predictors and spell checkers for their laziness and inability to read over what they have written before pressing the send button.
Others don’t even put their words into a context, leaving the reader to wonder what is meant. I have a friend who will out of the blue write “I need to practise forgiveness!” no rhyme, nor reason. I will ask for clarification and my words of request go ignored. Just can’t be bothered! And neither can I to take time to fathom what they meant.
We are becoming very sloppy in our communication.
Is this you?
Being more conscious about our use of language. Having a conscience.
Today I feel a nudge from spirit to explain how we can use our words to create, to use our words more purposefully and potently to create the outcomes we seek and the energy we communicate into the world.
Every word we speak has an energy and energy is light, sound, vibration and colour. Every word we speak, has an energy effect. What we give out, we get back. Send words out mindlessly and don't be surprised if someone pulls you up on them!
How we speak and what we speak about often is what we create and bring into our reality. Tell yourself, "This is an awful day." and most likely it will continue to be so - until you decide it to be otherwise.
If you find a meeting "boring" and others seem engaged, that may say something bout the words you are using in your mind to describe the meeting. Instead of the meeting being boring a more accurate reflection may be "I am finding this parts of the meting boring."
A tiny bit of history
The earliest languages of the ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit and Hebrew peoples were divinely designed harmonics that resonated with the Earth's energy grid harmonics and were spoken by the ethnic people in the location on Earth where that harmonic was required. Be anyone's standards, that is some powerful science. And I said it would be tiny!
Every time we open our mouths to speak we CREATE, we make music! So why not use our words wisely and well as the words we speak CREATE an OUTCOME. For every utterance there is a reaction! Does our "music" create joy or a dirge? Does it enlighten and entertain or, in minor key, bring people down?
Words are healing
We can use our own words to heal, to restore, to bring into being that which we want, to attract love and support to ourselves or others, or, we can use words to rip things apart, through our mindlessness, we can push others away, destroy or delay our good, to make us dis-eased or unwell. We have this CHOICE.
But most I know cannot be bothered to pay attention to their use of language, how they write, how they are on Skype, how they are on the telephone! We were seldom taught about correct use of language as a means of communicating.
If this is an area you could do well to improve then: -
1. First determine to communicate well, with mindfulness, the awareness of what and how you wish to communicate
2. Plan ahead - what do you intend, what outcome do you seek
3. If writing, re-read your communication before sending
4. Know what you want or intend to create by your communication ...take time to go within and even write it down and check it is what you desire to communicate.
5. Check your intention – clear any limiting, sabotaging energy patterns you are communicating. If you know what you are sending is vitriolic, facetious, flippant, maligning – STOP and reconsider. What are you really trying to achieve?
6. If you are of a religious or spiritual mind, connect with your Higher Power and ask for guidance to communicate in honesty, truth, and respect.
7. Be true to yourself – do not fudge, budge or hedge– speak your truth with respect and compassion.
8. Stay focussed on the now and the future. The past is gone. Let it stay there!
9. Become aware of the language you use and the habitual words you speak. Become aware of how YOU can be careless with language, dismiss others, run others down, disrespect them or disregards their beliefs, not necessarily intentionally – because chances are as you so disregard them, you are disregarding the self.
10. Pay your dues. Maybe put 10 pence in a jar every time you run yourself down, or limit yourself, blame another, are conditional with another or knowingly use language that does not contribute to the greater good.
The above list could be twice as long.
A genuinely self-empowered person who acts authentically and behaves responsibly and respectfully, will recognise the authority and power that words carry. The power and energy of words of …ie it’s not just the word you say but the force and tone that supports it
Anger said angrily
Care said meaningfully
Commitment said convincingly and confidently
Compassion said gently
Concern spoken from the heart
Encouragement said positively and upbeat
Love said with timing, respect, and meaning
Message written clearly so that the recipient does not have to guess and wonder
Words are power. They can bond us or disconnect us. We shake hands and “give our word” to someone as a way of confirming a spoken agreement or sealing a deal. But we can just as easily “break our word” and with it the breaking of a commitment which can also, forever break a friendship.
We rely on words to describe the stories and paint the verbal pictures about every aspect of life.
Ask a German how they are and they’ll reply, “mir geht’s gut” – it’s going well for me. And the same with a Spaniard, they’ll likely reply, “Estoy bien” – I’m good. And from a Scottish person you’ll be lucky to get a cursory, “Fine.” Change one word (perhaps great instead of fine) and you change the emotional, psychological, and even physical response to a situation. And you can change your inner state. How much better does it feel to say with meaning, "I feel great."
So be mindful
How carefully ie consciously do we choose the words through which we talk to ourselves? Are we always berating ourselves, or are words caring and loving? And do we just come out with the words or do we actually think about what we are saying to ourselves?
Could you just catch yourself as you are about to say, "Fine" and choose instead to intend that you be great and so say, "I'm great." Say it with a smile instead of a Mr Grumpy Face and your body will respond with quite a different feeling, Now say it, feel it, smile it and stand tall - and notice the changes.
How carefully, consciously, and intentionally do we choose the words which we speak to others? Are they malicious, critical, destructive or are they words which build people up, praise others, and express genuine concern?
And how well do we speak of others. Or do we engage in nasty gossip? Gossip is energy and even just in your thoughts that energy will find its way to the person. If prayer for the greater good of another can affect them, there's no reason why gossip cannot do likewise.
And what about the words that we use to interpret the experiences of our own lives? And how much can we change the quality of our life, our health, and our relationships and the life and health of others by using carefully selected words and avoiding others?
And humour, what may be “just a joke” or something said “just in passing” or “for a bit of fun” may not be the words through which another hears your message.
How easy do you find it to say “no”? Or are you always in situations where you’d love to say “no” but for fear of offending or upsetting or creating disharmony, you say “yes” and bitterly regret it later when you have to show up for something you agreed to when you knew all along it was a bad decision? In that moment, what really stops you being honest?
Supportive Things to Say to Someone you think may need come help or comfort
Ensure what you say and do and how you say and do it is in alignment with what you intend as the outcome. What you put in determines what comes in. Garbage in, garbage out.
If you intend to express your concern for someone, ask, yourself, "In communicating with X, what outcome do I seek?"
Will what you say and do, how you say and do it, your tone of voice, your body language be conducive to getting you the outcome your intention seeks?
Your message Is filtered and affected by How it is received and understood is determined by eg:-
Your intention the other's mood
Words their relationship with you
Actions their ability to comprehend, their knowledge level etc
Tone the setting, the environment,
Body language their inner reaction to what and how you are
Permission / support
Sometimes, checking with the other that they are ready to hear from you is quite important.
Would it help to talk?
I am concerned. I am concerned I have not heard from you. I am concerned there are no answers to my calls or e-mails? How are you?
I’m here if you need someone to listen / talk with / be with.
We haven’t had a chance to talk / catch up / have fun together lately. Why don’t we ….?
I’ve got your back. Maybe we can walk side by side through this.
You are important to a lot of people.
I believe in you. I want to help you believe in yourself again, too.
Simply showing up in someone’s life to be with him or her is one of the best possible ways to show support.
Notice in those examples the use of “I” Language and avoiding judgement
When we use “you” language it can be interpreted by the other as if we are telling them they are wrong, not good enough, have erred
So avoid starting sentences with:
you should …
you need to …
you have to …
you didn’t …
you never …
you always …
you are …
And avoid adding in an accusatory tone of voice, a pointy finger, a scowl otherwise you are adding fuel to the fire. And if the intention of your message was to be considerate, compassionate, concerned etc then that is not what will be conveyed.
Instead, consider starting with being clear on your intention, and adopting an appropriate body language (even if you are texting or writing – it helps to get you in the right state)
Then consider saying / writing
I am … concerned, worried about you, interested to know …
I feel … etc
And if the intention of your message is to offer critical feedback then the approach has to be different …but again, no direct attacking with “you never answer my calls” -use I language, deal with your stuff eg “I have tried calling three times and I am concerned not to be getting through. I’d like to know how you are.” If you want to be more assertive, even then, use the formula, “When you – I –” eg “When you don’t …X... I feel…”
Be clear. This is where text speak in its brevity and curtness not only does not work, it can steer communication away from your original intention.
Sentences that start with the word You instantly cause defensiveness…especially if the receiver is stressed, has low self-esteem, has a mental health issue, and a mindset that does not warm to short, direct feedback. Now you are not to know necessarily the filters, lenses, or mindsets through which they interpret communication, hence why it is all the more important to consider what you say and do, how you say and do it, how your message may come across and whether it is more or less likely to achieve the outcome your desire behind your intention.
Technically, tone (even one that is assumed in the receiver’s mind) is more important than words in communication, but the word You is a dangerous word and causes an emotional reaction very quickly.
“You need to call me back” (even in a nice tone) sounds so different from “I’d welcome a call back by ….” Even in a less than nice tone it sounds better than the first version.
If your focus of intention is about your concern for the other person, you need to ensure that comes across.
And having asked, you need to listen.
What we need to be careful about is the danger of the “me, me, me” conversationalist (see this longer article on those dangers).
When dealing with a difficult person, a confrontation or a bully, words DO matter more than in regular conversation with friends. Emotions are higher. Triggers are closer to the surface and we tend to read far more info statements when there is tension in the relationship.
So today, watch all the sentences that start with You (even with those people where there is no tension). Make sure you start with “I” but don’t become a “me-me-me” conversationalist too.
Perhaps it removes a trigger on your difficult person’s radar, and it just might help keep those conversations neutral.