Louise Hay, one of my favorite teachers, is a stickler for language. She teaches that thoughts (language in your mind) impact your environment.
Positively worded thoughts create positive feelings and negatively worded thoughts create negative ones.
Try it out for yourself:
How does it feel when you say, “I’m killing two birds with one stone” vs “I’m getting a lot done efficiently”
Same idea, very different feeling.
There are even more subtle examples. Let’s take one common to those trying to lose weight . . .
How often do we think or even say, “I can’t eat this”?
With that sentence, who has the power? I sounds like it might be someone or something else, but it’s always you.
No one is ever “making” you eat or not eat something.
Everything you do is a choice.
Highlighting that truth with your words can be a big shift in thinking.
And a potent reminder that you are in control.
Next time try, “I’m choosing not to eat this”.
More likely to lead to better food choices.
When you start paying attention to your words, life gets clearer and more gets done.
I’ve found that any sentence with the word “can’t”, “should” or “shouldn’t” makes a great candidate for examination.
“I should call Mary”.
Seems like an innocuous thought, but consider the feelings it evokes—obligation, rebellion, resistance—all of which leads to conflicted feelings and then inevitably, inaction.
Investigating what’s true for you, triggered by the simple phrase, can start to clean up your life in a way that’s deceptively simple.
It may be that you just need to rephrase the thought, “I want to call Mary” or “I promised to call Mary” if that’s more accurate. Those thoughts are so much cleaner and lead to simple action.
However, it may be a little more complicated than that.
Time to evaluate your relationship to Mary, perhaps?
If she’s an elderly aunt who you respect but don’t enjoy speaking to, just reframing the action by thinking of yourself as someone who values family and/or courtesy can get the call done.
Which brings me to your But.
Saying “but” often negates everything that comes before it.
“I’d like to lose weight, but I don’t like exercise”
So it follows that there’s no way for you to lose weight. Bummer.
If you make the simple switch to, “I’d like to lose weight AND I don’t like exercise” you leave room for both those things to be true.
One doesn’t negate the other.
Weight loss is still a possibility and your brain will start to figure out a way to make it happen.
"But" stops, "And" allows.
We all need more allowing—it leaves space for opportunity.
So keep a look out for "can’t", "should" and "but". You’ll feel empowered, able to take action and open to possibility.
Watch your life change. And your waistline, too.