Words mean things. Words affect us.
While we never notice the process, our brains filter every word that we speak or hear, and adjusts our mind to comply with what it’s being told. If your brain hears “you dummy!” often enough, it assumes that it’s true, so it lowers your internal expectations to that level. And when you mess up, your mind scolds you for even thinking that you could get it right in the first place. You are a dummy, remember? And dummies always mess things up.
If you are one of those who mock that concept by saying something cute like “I’m gonna think myself seven feet tall and good looking,” then carry on. I won’t waste time trying to convince you.
But what we hear does influence us — especially if those words are spoken by someone important to us.
A girl who starts on her high school softball team told me that she doesn’t play because she loves the game, but because the only time her father ever told her he was proud of her was when she hit her first home run. She keeps playing, hoping to recreate that moment. She continues to hit home runs, but hasn’t heard those words again. The last eight years of her young life have revolved around a game because of half-a-dozen words her father spoke one time.
Words have power.
Since they do, shouldn’t we pay attention to how we use them?
My first day as a sophomore in high school, I walked into my English class and saw this sentence scrawled on the chalkboard (yes, I am that old). “Profanity is often in the vocabulary of the illiterate because they ARE illiterate.”
From that day till this, I’ve not forgotten what Mrs. Dunn seared into my mind. Your words don’t only express your thoughts, but they identify who you are. And that’s a double-whammy. Your mind responds to what you say to others, but it also responds to what you say about yourself. It believes what it hears. If you talk like a $15 streetwalker, then you shouldn’t be surprised that you have self-esteem issues. You’ve been telling yourself that’s who you are for years. And if you keep talking about what a loser you are and how you will never amount to anything, then, yeah, you probably have identity issues, too.
Your mind believes what it hears, and adjusts your internal settings to fit what you’re telling it you are.
I’m troubled by how often people use coarse words in everyday conversation. Words that an educated or professional person would once be embarrassed to be heard using are now common expressions. Like the f-bomb and the s-word. Have we become so reduced as a society that nobody cares that our best and brightest cannot express themselves without pulling these words from the vocabulary sewer? Is no one embarrassed that despite their education, career accomplishments, and religious experience they use the same words as folks who have none of those?
I’m convinced that most of us would feel better about ourselves if we’d stop listening to what today’s media says we are, and get back to telling ourselves, and our children, what God says about us. I mean, he went to the trouble of giving the seven billion of us walking on Earth right now unique fingerprints, voices, and eyes. That alone says you are one in seven billion. So why don’t we act and speak like it?
If you want to feel better about yourself, then start here. Stop listening to those contrary voices — and for goodness sake, stop talking like a loser! Languagemonitor.com says that there are 1,025,109.8 words in the English language. Surely you can find some that express how you feel without using those same nasty two all the time.
It’s time to start talking like the person God made you to be. Lose the language of losers!
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