As a writer, I understand the power of words. Words often flow through me, inspired by something both outside me, and innately found within. At the same time, I still have a conscious choice over the words I ultimately select. I often spend a great deal of working on flow and rhythm in an effort to create a style that doesn’t change the message.
And yet, even I struggle at times to remember the power that comes with certain word choices, or specific phrases. We become numb to the meaning of words that are used frequently. Writing is often about trying to use familiar words in a different way, to bring new meaning to phrases that we’ve heard what seems like a million times. It’s a unique and elusive challenge.
I woke up during the night recently thinking of a phrase that is used constantly. It’s one of the simplest phrases imaginable, yet it packs so much power that I doubt any of us even realize what we can do or have or be with just these two words. And to be awakened from sleep? Something deep within realizes this message is needed to be shared now.
The two most important words?
How many times do you think you use these words in a single day? I can think of 10 right now.
I’m sure I said all of these before noon today:
- I am hungry.
- I am tired.
- I am aggravated.
- I am here.
- I am stuck in traffic.
- I am late for work.
- I am headed to a meeting.
- I am on the phone.
- I am sore.
- I am meeting with her today.
On the surface, “I am” may not seem so powerful, yet underneath, it’s simple structure is a complex world of meaning.
The phrase “I am” (and specifically “am”) is a form of being. When we say “I am,” we generally follow it up with some description. So in essence, we are saying that we embody whatever follows the phrase. We are tired, sick, sad, etc.
It seems simple enough, however, it creates a spiritual problem for us when we consider whether we want to describe our being with words like sick, sad, tired, and so on. These words may, in fact, describe our current state of FEELING. But are they truly indicative of our current state of BEING?
Taking this thought process one step further, there is evidence that we become what we think and say. This is why athletes visualize themselves winning competitions and great actors visualize themselves giving acceptance speeches; they know the power of our thoughts to create reality.
When we think, or say to ourselves, “I am tired,” we are creating a reality in which the person that we are is tired. That one isn’t too difficult to swallow. But what about when we say, “I am depressed.” Or “I am broke.” What kind of reality does that create for us? A state of being where we become something that we most likely don’t want.
Perhaps this seems like semantics. Yet, I invite you to say the following phrases out loud. As you read them, sense how you feel.
Experience their energy in your body:
- I am broke.
- I am depressed.
- I am mad.
- I am stupid.
- I am not worthy.
- I am hopeless.
- I am fat.
If we’re being honest and in touch with our senses, we’ll likely agree that it feels bad to read these words. Nevertheless, this is how so many of us talk to ourselves on a regular basis.
What if we changed the wording to create a different effect? Read aloud the phrases below once again.
- I feel broke.
- I feel depressed.
- I feel mad.
- I feel stupid.
- I feel not worthy.
- I feel hopeless.
- I feel fat.
We know feelings are fleeting. They come and go almost as quickly as our thoughts. And they change rapidly, depending on internal and external experiences. Feelings are fluid, while beingness is more solid. Feelings are somewhat untrustworthy, since they change so much, while beingness is, at its core, who we are.
We don’t want to BE broke, depressed, stupid, unworthy. It’s okay to FEEL that way sometimes. But we want to let that feeling float on through as it needs to, not let it come to rest in our souls and occupy our beingness.
I urge each of us (myself included) to evaluate how we speak to ourselves, not only our self-talk in general but the specific words and phrases that we use. Where can we be gentler, kinder, more uplifting in our language? Where can we shift our reality by shifting our choice of words?
If this resonated with you, I invite you to comment below and share with your friends.