Could you imagine if just one minute a day we stopped, paused, and changed our words? In this world of automatic everything, we are so inclined to not pause. We are in what I like to call auto zone with everything. Have you ever been driving, going somewhere you know, but you automatically went somewhere else? I know I have. It is the same with words we are in the auto zone. Especially, when we are upset or angry.
We just get into bad habits. I have friends who use The Lord’s name in vain. They don’t mean it in a bad way. It’s just a bad habit. I addressed them, told them it really hurt my feelings and it would mean a lot to me if they tried not to say it. You know what? They love and respect me so much they have worked to say “Gosh darn it!” I can’t express how much that means to me and I am sure many around them.
The fact is we all are guilty of the automatic words we have in our vocabulary. For me, it’s automatic to yell a bad word if I stub my toe or drop something on my foot. I am sure you can relate to “Oh! blank!”
It is a very difficult practice to change your words but trying to apply and doing so can be so pleasant to your life and to others as well. I try to put substitutions into play. I know people may say, if you are still thinking about it, it doesn’t matter. However, it can start you on an automatic of better word choices. For example, your significant other is late for dinner and you are angry. Do you find yourself wanting to say: “Where the ##### have you been?” What if we took a breath and said: “Oh I am so glad you made it home safely. I was worried about you!” It may change the tone for the whole evening. What about receiving a gift? The automatic “Oh Thanks.” What if you didn’t like it? Maybe it was the wrong color etc. How about, “That was so thoughtful of you to think of me, thank you so much!” You see, it’s not a lie, because it was thoughtful.
Could you imagine if we took a breath and tried to change our words in so many areas of our lives? I have to go to work today, I have to take care of my elderly mother, or I have to take the kids to school. What if we changed have to get. I get to go to my wonderful job today, I get to go help my amazing mother who needs a little extra support, or I get to take the kids to school and watch them grow up. Do you see how gratitude takes over instead of a burden?
There are just so many things we say in our vocabulary that can change the tone for the day. How about instead of “I am so proud of you,” you say, “Awesome, really wonderful job, you're hard work really paid off!” Because, really, you didn’t do the work, they did. How about instead of yelling at the kids because they didn’t clean their room to your satisfaction, or their grades weren’t up to par, you changed your words to: “Wow! What a great effort.”
I think everyone is guilty of the word “stupid” or, “idiot.” I know I am. Most recently, I have been very challenged with not calling people “stupid” or, “idiots.” We have had challenging times to keep that out of our vocabulary. But instead, I try really hard to say “Oh they are just really misguided.” My husband will say, “Oh they are misguided alright!” The fact that he heard me and repeated it, means it resonated in his brain somewhere, and maybe will try to use it as well.
What about the word: hate. Honestly, that is one of the most negative and overused words in our vocabulary. In my education and family background, hate is a bad word. If you think about how many times it’s automatically used, not just for us but other people. I hate that show, I hate this weather, I hate that restaurant, or I hate that person. We all have a “Debby Downer” in our lives who hates everything. Isn't it interesting how we can see the overuse of the word hate in other people but not ourselves?
Wouldn’t it be awesome to find what you love about something negative? For example, I just love the wonderful rain for watering my plants. It’s very hot, I love that I can go into the air-conditioning. I love that person for reminding me to be kind and setting an example of how not to be. I love waiting in line because it gives me a chance to breathe and be grateful for being here. I promise if you use the word love as much as possible in a real implied way it will change you.
I feel it’s time, more than ever, to watch our words and be mindful. It will become infectious. Have you ever thought that the more you speak positively, it could really rub off onto another and another? What if just you and your positive self started a new way of the world speaking to each other? What if?