This is a guest post by Vered Ehsani
The word I am referring to here is powerful, creative and it is mine. And yours.
Our words are filled with the power to change our thoughts and create our reality. When I use words consciously and with clear intention, this power can transform and energize my life. However, when I’m not conscious of the story behind my thoughts, then a hidden agenda can control my thinking, my emotions, my decisions and my life.
For me, this realization started with the word “should”: I should really go for a jog – it’s good for me; I shouldn’t have lost my patience. These aren’t bad thoughts, are they?
But then I began to dig around behind the “should”, and found a whole story running in the background. It’s kind of like a virus that works quietly and invisibly in the hard drive of your computer, sabotaging all the good programs without you knowing it.
So for me, the story behind “should” was: “You should go for a jog, but you really aren’t going to and you’re not able to, no matter how hard you try. And you shouldn’t have done that – you are a terrible person.”
Behind the “should” and “should not” lurked doubt and guilt. These nasty cousins pulled me down and drained my energy every time I used “should”.
So I decided to experiment with this monologue. The next time I started a thought or a sentence with, “I should do that…”, I stopped myself.
I literally paused and thought about what I really wanted to do or not do.
I then made a clear and conscious decision, and I stated my intention with confidence: “I will do that.” Or “I will not do that right now.” And when I began to think, “I shouldn’t have done that yesterday…”, I’d stop and state, “I did that yesterday. Next time, I will do it differently.” End of story.
By making that small but powerful shift to the words used by my internal voice, I could feel doubt and guilt slipping away like shadows before a bright light. Instead of feeling pulled apart and drained by negative and conflicting emotions, I felt energized and positive.
An extension of this idea manifests in my reaction to other people. A car pulled out in front of me and my first response was, “Unbelievable!” But what was behind that word? Something like: “That driver is an inconsiderate, stupid lunatic who tried to run me off the road.” Really? Where did the facts for that conclusion come from?!
So instead I changed the thought to focus on the simple fact: “The car pulled out in front of me.” End of facts. There is no need to build up a story. All the anger that had started to build up and scatter my energy immediately vanished as I laughed.
My husband made a comment one evening that immediately set off a very familiar silent critique in my mind that had nothing to do with the facts or his obvious intentions. So right then, I stopped the dark, draining mumbling and focused on the fact of what he had actually said and intended. And all the poisonous thoughts faded away, because they were never real. They only seemed real when I fed them with my attention and energy, at my own cost.
So I’m choosing my thoughts and words with greater care these days. I might have other stories working behind the scene, but for now, I’m just energized with the awareness that I’ve rid myself of a couple of them!
Vered lives in Kenya with her husband and two children. She is very involved in various programs for the moral empowerment of children and youth. Vered loves writing, especially for young readers (her teen novel “Diary of a Part Time Ghost” will be available on Amazon and CreateSpace in February 2011). If you are interested in connecting with Vered personally, you can get in touch with her here.
Lisa’s Note: This article reminded me to pay close attention to all the background “stories” I have running through my mind during the day. Do you find this to be true for you as well? What inner dialogue have you caught yourself in lately?