Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hear what I Say

My friend Mel has had an epiphany

I chose the words I use carefully and I am often shocked about how careless others are with words. Sometimes it can be hard to understand what I say because I want the words to convey so much more than their literal meaning and I may miss other words out as I feel they detract from the sense of what I’m saying. Sometimes I think so much about what I want to say that I forget to say it but think that I have.

Recently I was at a workshop where for me the facilitators use of language was really challenging. I found myself responding to statements and questions only to be told “that’s not what I really meant”. I found this so frustrating especially as then I was the one in the ‘wrong’ because my behaviour wasn’t ‘empathic’. Anyway back to the point………………….

Mel I agree with you and I want to add another concept to the mix – positive language……

"We're not going home until you've had a wee"

could become

“Lets go home when you’ve had a wee”


“When you’ve had a wee we will go home”

Again a subtle shift but one for me is really, really useful. It’s amazing how much of our language is framed in the negative – I write so many emails and then go through them adding positive words to replace negative ones (can you think of the negative way I wrote that sentence the first time?).

I can be really esoteric about his. The universe hears the words we use and doesn’t have the time to differentiate between negative and positive.

Our house is on a road that is quite busy. When we park the car on the drive we reverse in so that we can get out safely. There are two gateposts and we have to drive the car in at quite a sharp angle so the van and the car fit on the drive.

When we moved my husband spent the first month saying “don’t hit the post”. He said this many, many times. The universe heard “hit the post” and kindly obliged. There is a nice big dent in the car to remind us how the universe listens.

Perhaps it would have been more useful (and less irritating) to say “angle the car through the gap” or “ that gap is a good size” or even “hit the space” (actually it would still have been irritating).

So Mel my challenge to you is to teach a whole class without using any negative phrases or words!!!