The words we use reveal a lot about what is going on in our heads, and also affect our ability to perform.
Our words can actually make us strong or weak as they have an instant effect on our body and mind.
There’s an experiment, which comes from the field of behavioural kinesiology that illustrates the strong link between the body and mind.
It involves two people, with the first putting their arms out to the side at shoulder height. Their job is to resist the second person pushing down on their arms.
On the first attempt, the first person expresses positive words, such as “I can hold my arms up”, “yes”, “I am strong and capable”, while the second person tries to push their arms down.
On the next attempt, negative words are said out loud by the person holding up their arms and resisting – “I can’t hold my arms up”, “no”, “I am weak and inadequate”.
Unsurprisingly, the first person is able to resist their arms being pushed down when they express positive words, and their arms do get pushed down when they use negative words.
THE WORDS WE CHOOSE SHAPE OUR LIVES
How many times have you told yourself that you’re slow, not good enough or you’ll never reach your goals because you don’t have enough drive and motivation?
These self-limiting beliefs rob us of joy and create needless suffering, says bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. The book offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives and unlock a new experience of true happiness, freedom and love.
The First Agreement is to be impeccable with your word, and never use it against yourself or others.
Impeccable comes from the Latin “not to sin”. Being impeccable with the way you talk to yourself means not judging or blaming yourself. So by thinking negative self-limiting beliefs and destructively using words of despair, it can be thought to be sinning against yourself. Your words transform the way you think and affect the opinions of others so choose your words carefully.
We attach meaning to words, which in turn crystallise perceptions that shape our beliefs, drive our behaviour and ultimately create our world.
FIVE WAYS TO HARNESS THE POWER OF WORDS
- Be impeccable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
- Read something positive every day.
Make it a daily habit to read some form of positive text. This can be uplifting blog posts, inspirational quotes on Instagram or positive affirmations. Fill your mind with positivity through the power of language.
- Respond rather than react.
Allow yourself space to respond. Make it a conscious decision to pause, perceive and proceed with thought, instead of an automatic reaction with words that could humiliate, hurt or hamper.
- Stop all self-criticism.
Be kind to yourself. Offer yourself the same empathy you’d extend to anyone else. Acknowledge that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, including you. Up the compassion, ease the judgement and turn the draining self-criticism into encouraging self-talk.
- Express gratitude.
By expressing gratitude for what you have (rather than what you lack), by cherishing experiences and focusing on the present moment, you open yourself up to great positive experiences and more opportunities to be happy.
REFLECTING ON THE POWER OF WORDS
Don Miguel Ruiz says, “The word is a force, it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby create the events in your life.” To keep one simple agreement – To be impeccable with your word – will require some time and practice to master. Whilst you become more impeccable with your word, notice what you create and enjoy as a result.
Remember: what the mind believes, the body achieves.