One of the most powerful – yet potentially underutilised – tools in your possession are your words. I haven’t always fully understood or appreciated this, but once I did it was like a light switch flicked on.
Holy shit, I create myself – and others – through language.
And since then, I’ve been curious about Conscious Language (well, that’s what I call it…the conscious use of language is more accurate).
And I’m still learning every day, as I listen to myself and others speak.
I notice what people say, a lot.
The subtle – and not so subtle – ways we create and relate through language.
I hear empowered and disempowered words, victim and resigned language, hopeful and open-to-possibility stories.
I hear partners describe spouses, parents describe children, workers describe colleagues and bosses, friends describe friends.
I hear us communicate our relationships, bodies, careers, families, money and life through stories and chit-chat.
And this is what I know. Most of it is unconscious language. Just the stuff we’ve been saying over and over.
The lines we’ve been fed about How Life Is. Our cynicism and resignation when we turn our attention to parenting, the economy, men and women, health, relationships, teenagers.
Not to mention the media and marketing slipping their messages in while we weren’t looking.
And I’m not immune to it. It gets in and permeates our values and the lens through which we approach Life.
I like listening to myself and others. Because there’s a powerful key hidden in sight. And that key is language.
But it’s fluid and dynamic and wriggly, so my challenge is to keep listening as I speak and stay curious. Is this what I want to create with my words?
Sometimes the answer is ‘hell yeah’.
And other times I make a different choice.
But it’s all in the listening and the choosing. The awareness.
So what’s the difference between Conscious Language and Polly-Anna-style must always be positive “New Age” language?
There is a whiff of Should-ing on yourself whenever the flag of positive language is waved. And that’s no fun. This isn’t about making ourselves – or others – wrong. It isn’t about being restricted in the words we use.
The drive to slavishly being positive denies the messiness of life and the human experience. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed and sad and frustrated and angry and resentful and scared and powerless and all the other ‘non-positive’ feelings.
Yet through it all, we are using language to make sense and connect with ourselves and those around us.
Conscious Language is compassionate and curious. It understands we are complex creatures who will never be perfect. But we generally lean towards betterment and growth. And standing still or going backwards is not in our design.
I know the words I use create me and my world. That applies whether I’m parenting my kids, talking with my partner, chatting with a friend or presenting myself in a work situation.
So the invitation is always who do I want to be and how do I want my world to look like?
We are in a dance with language because we are in a dance with Life. Awareness gives us the opportunity to listen as we co-create and flow with the rhythm of Life.
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