I have written before on how gratitude can turn a marriage around. Similarly, words have so much power. It’s so important to recognise the power of the words we use. In relationships we tend to focus on what the other person is doing wrong or not doing. However, we miss seeing the fact that we can have so much influence in our own lives and in our relationships, simply by focusing on ourselves and what we can change. Specifically, we can develop great habits with the words we use and this has a corresponding effect on how we feel and on how others feel around us.
For example I can say I feel exhausted or I can say “I feel a little bit tired”. I’m in that moment before I go off to sleep and I say “I’m feeling exhausted” and suddenly I go into thoughts about how I’m working too hard, how I can never get the balance right, how I feel like it’s all too hard etc I go into a whole story about my life where everything seems overwhelming. Contrast this with “I feel a little bit tired” and the story I tell myself is completely different ….mm delicious I’m heading off into noddy land and I am about to have a lovely long rest.
The words we use create our stories. Our stories generate our feelings. It can seem monumental to try to change our habitual ways of being in the world. However, when we break it down to changing or being mindful of our words on a regular basis we learn to change our lives.
It’s not surprising that this has a ripple effect in our relationships. We tend to feel safe around someone who manages their emotions and keeps things in perspective. We know that we will not be misinterpreted or that the problems in the relationship won’t be escalated and exaggerated.
So for example you may really feel the need to bring something to your partner’s attention. You may be feeling like they really need to know what they have done wrong. Try changing tack! Instead of saying “you did or didn’t do” such and such say, “I feel …when this happens”. Using “I “ statements is a very powerful way to change relationships. No one wants to feel criticized but most people can relate to how another person is feeling, when it is delivered in a non-judgemental, calm way and at appropriate and respectful time.
Try it for yourself and see the difference. Play with it and practice. Notice the difference you can have and make in your life when you change your words consciously! It’s contagious! When you practice choosing words consciously others notice. It’s just good to be around you. You create a whole different energy and that’s inviting and a powerful tool for your relationships.
Margie provides Melbourne relationship counselling, coaching and support in Malvern East, Armadale, Carnegie, Ashburton, Chadstone, Mt Waverley, Glen Iris and Sth Yarra and Toorak. She is also available for Skype consultations. Please contact her for more information.