Given these times of uncertainty, it seems like a good time to also look at our beliefs. One way to do that is to look at the words we use to express ourselves. Our language and the words we use can give us a lot of clues about what we think and believe deep down.
I encourage you to, over the course of the next few days, notice if you start any sentences with:
I have to…
I need to…
If you think about it most of the time you say you have to do something, it is really that you are choosing to do it, but no one is technically making you. Same with need- sometimes need is accurate, but really it is that you want to do a certain thing for whatever reason that is.
I can’t usually means I won’t. Sometimes we can’t do something, that is true, but just notice how many times you say you can’t when you actually could, you are just not willing to do it.
Getting clear with our language is really powerful.
Here’s another one: I have to vs I GET to. So many things that we think we HAVE to do are actually things we can we grateful we get to do. Even the most trivial things, we are lucky to be at a place in life, the world that we get to do them.
One last thing- more a mindset, as well as language:
Things that happen in my life are happening FOR me vs TO me.
If you start to look at the obstacles that come up in your life as information, teachers, lessons- they take on a whole different feel. This one has taken me a while, and maybe I will never be perfect at it, but I will keep on it. Being aware to even look at things that way most of the time, or eventually has certainly lessened my suffering, increased my gratitude and my ability to be a positive in situations instead of part of the problem, or a neutral person not making any difference.
Without judgement, notice when you say these things. It is a habit and the first step in changing it is noticing. That’s a win right there!
Then think about:
I have to vs I want to
I need to vs I choose to
I can’t vs I won’t
Have to implies no choice.
Need implies lack.
Can’t implies you do not have the ability.
Wanting to implies power of choice.
Choosing to implies power of choice.
Being clear that you won’t do something implies power of choice, not inability.
Power of choice. Something we fortunately almost always have, especially when it comes to what we think, speak and how we act.
I always refer people to The Four Agreements for a really solid explanation on why clear language is important. Words to mean something, not just to the person we are speaking to, but also (and more importantly) to our brains listening to and believing every word our voices say literally.
Listen to yourself this week and notice if what you are saying is really true, or just being said out of habit. Be impeccable with your word, by first noticing the language you use.