If I asked you to name the biggest jerk in your life, who would that be? Your ex? Your mom? The grumpy neighbor who makes it appear his only reason to live is to complain about how you mow your lawn or where you put the garbage cans?
Did you think to answer yourself?
If we recorded the conversation you have playing on repeat in your brain every day, what are you telling yourself? Does your brain feel love, or are you spending time with a critical asshole all day long?
One memory I have of being young is singing, "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me," on the playground. This saying infers that words have no power over us, and if we ignore them, we will be fine. But I was also taught words have power, so I should pick them wisely.
So which way is it?
In January, we saw a young poet named Amanda Gorman demonstrate the power of words at Joe Biden's inauguration. Our Nation was moved by the emotion her words provoked. If you didn't see it or want to be reminded, look it up. And if that does not resonate, think of a song that always seems to stir the waves in your soul. Think of how those words make you feel. The words in our lives do have power, but it is the meaning we attach to them and the emotion they create that makes them powerful. The words themselves are like the "Sticks and Stones" lyric implies - they are without power. They are just words... until we make them mean something with our thoughts. And then BOOM!
This is why when someone comments about your weight, your work, your parenting, how you speak, how you look, or so on... you feel a certain way. It is because your brain takes those words and makes them mean something. If your brain translates to the positive, you feel good. If your brain translates to the negative, you feel bad. Because our brains, by nature, lean towards the negative, it is important to be mindful and make sure what your brain is telling you is actually true... especially for the negative.
Our thoughts are making what someone said to mean something- about us- about you. Remember, they are just words... we decide the meaning behind them.
To rephrase this: Words are neutral until we put meaning to them. You get to choose how you want to interpret what has been said to you. You get to choose what you want to think. And this is the most amazing information ever because it means you have all the power. Nobody else has power over your feelings. Did you hear me? YOU ARE COMPLETELY IN CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS!! Hooray!
What about the words you say to yourself? What are the words you are telling yourself? And more importantly, what are you making them mean about you? Are you showing yourself self-compassion and love, or are you hearing the ramblings of a critical asshole all day?
These thoughts are driving the results you are getting in your life.
Taking the time to identify your thoughts and learn how the feelings they are creating inside you drive your actions and ultimately your results is one of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself. I help my clients do this, and I would love to help you learn how to do this. Click here to schedule your complimentary coaching session! Let's get started!