I am a firm believer in the importance of our every day language – both to ourselves and to others.
Firstly lets tackle the self: we are often so mean to ourselves and we believe (falsely) that this motivates us and pushes us forward. Everyone has negative thoughts… we can never get rid of them. However, listening to the mean voice in our heads (our inner critic) can really stop us from creating, taking chances and living a full and fun life. Some people give in to their inner critic more than others and if you do find yourself being crippled by these nasty words try to challenge them and prove them wrong. The simplest way to challenge them is to say the exact opposite but say it out loud… rinse and repeat.
Secondly lets tackle others: I had not thought much about daily language (even though I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship in my twenties) until I was visiting a girlfriend. Her husband walked in the door and did not say hello, did not ask how her day was but he immediately blasted her about the jobs she had done that day and why she had not done this or that. I was stunned. I could not believe that this beautiful and extremely intelligent woman would put up with that kind of treatment. I’m sure deep down in his heart he believes he loves his wife but his daily language is telling her that she’s a piece of shit.
A second example was a neighbour I recently overheard yelling at his wife about how she was reversing the car out their garage. He screamed at her, called her a ‘stupid bitch’ and told her that she didn’t deserve to have a car. He went on and on about how stupid she was and it was loud enough for the whole street to hear. I’m sure if you asked him he would tell you that he loves his wife but his daily language is hateful and damaging to her (and other members of their family I’m sure). I have no doubt she was mortified not only by the way he spoke to her but also that the whole street had a front row seat to her humiliation.
This really got me to thinking. It doesn’t matter if we think we love someone, if we adore them with all of heart and scream it from the rooftops if every day you’re telling them in a small way that they mean nothing to you. I would much rather have people in my life who spoke kindly and thoughtfully in small measure every day than a thoughtless verbal abuser who tried to make up for their bad behaviour with a grand gesture every now and then. How wonderful would it be to live in a world where grand gestures were not used as a Band-Aid for bad behaviour?
I have really tried to apply this to my own life and how I speak to my loved ones. It’s so easy when we’re having a bad day or have a headache to lash out at someone close to you but doing so doesn’t benefit anyone. Nasty words hurt and kind words heal.
This also applies to the way we talk to ourselves. A lot can come from being nice. Try it in the mirror or on a loved one today 🙂
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