Are You Giving Away Your Power to Words?
Updated: Oct 24, 2020
It's not the Words. It's What's Behind them
I remember watching MTV as a young girl feeling deeply moved by the wise words of Extreme in their hit song More than Words. Pre-teen lust moving through my misunderstood and often confused 12-year-old mind. Was it their long beautiful hair? Or maybe the lighting in the video? I’m not sure, but whatever it was I felt seen.
Come on, all together now…
How eeeasy it would be. to. show. me. how. you. FEEL!
More than woor-rds, is all you haave to do to make. it. real.
Then you woouuldn't have to say - That You Love Meeeee,
'Cause IIIIIII'd allllreeeadyyy knooooow.
Cheesy, yes, but to this day its simplicity remains true for me. Words are shallow or can be. And we are constantly showing people how we feel even if our words are saying something else.
The Duality here, as I think back to my Extreme Crush, is that for a song about words being superficial it’s a very well-thought-out grouping of words.
That’s the thing with words. They fall into both categories
Words are both powerful and meaningless.
Let's talk about that. (So meta right?)
Thoughts Become Things
You’ve probably heard that one before, that thoughts become things. And I would agree that words have power. But wouldn’t you agree that often you are the one assigning power to certain words whether you are speaking them yourself or simply listening to someone else?
Think back to the movie The Secret. There was a lot of talk about how to use words to attract what you want. Don’t say that, do say this. Suddenly everyone became Word Police overnight. (I must admit, I drank that Kool-Aid for a while.)
I believe a real disservice is happening in the spiritual community in regard to words. There’s a kind of pressure to judge them, scrutinize them and make some words bad and wrong. I remember one friend’s eyes bulging as I said I “needed” something. “Never say ‘need,’” she whispered, “You’ll need that forever and you will never have it!”
I called Bullshit on that...
Because if I’m consciously using a word intentionally then I get to decide the power I put into it. In this case, I used “need” to mean “requirement” as in, I’m not settling for less and I meant it. As in: I need a partner that treats me with respect. Period. End of story. I’m not going to make myself or anyone else use words in a strange, warped way because
I’m afraid of what they will bring (I’m not and you shouldn’t be either.)
I think some words are bad (they’re not)
I think if I get my words just right I’ll manifest what I want really quickly (maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but if you feel all twisted, contorted and stressed about your words I guarantee it won’t make your journey very joyful!)
...that’s not good energy.
The problems come when you find yourself unconsciously thinking or saying certain words. When you are unaware of how the words you take in and let out are shaping your experience. Because they are shaping your experience. The real insight here comes when you realize the unconscious words you've had running through your head or coming out of your mouth and the power they are having over your life.
When I was married, my husband and I got into a huge fight. I heard myself thinking over and over “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” Whoa now! I thought hmm? This doesn’t actually feel like a new thought. In fact, as I started to unravel it, I discovered that this was the thought I unconsciously was repeating to myself every single time we had any argument at all.
I was throwing hate energy around our entire home without even being aware I was doing it.
Really all I was feeling was mad or inconvenienced after most arguments, but my energy was signaling something else and I was repeating that phrase like a mantra further programming myself for hate. Becoming aware of this thought (hate) that had become a thing (bad marriage) helped me to work backward out of that minefield. In this case, changing my language was helpful. “I’m so mad at him right now,” was more accurate and made me feel better!
It was during that time that I really opened up to understanding. . .
it’s the energy behind words more than words themselves.
Words Are Arbitrary
We created them, we gave them meaning, different languages have different nuances (so many words for snow in Alaska or lava in Hawaii), the meaning of words even changes over time. The original meaning of the word “guy” was meant to refer to an effigy of the man Guy Fawkes, who famously failed to blow up Parliament in 1605. In the US for the past 100 years, it’s been a word used to describe people of either gender and is currently undergoing scrutiny. What never changes is the energy or the actuality of what you are trying to describe with any word. A tree isn’t the word tree, it’s. . .well, it’s itself!
You know that friend you haven’t seen for months that you can just pick up a conversation with as though no time has passed at all? Or the co-worker who can finish your sentences? These are people you naturally align with energetically so words fall short.
I have a lot of friends where much of our conversation is us volleying words back and forth to describe a particular energy. When we both know we’ve described the energy and we know we are on the same page, we stop. It’s not about the word we settle on to describe it. We use words to direct each other to what we are really talking about kinda like you’d give someone directions and once we connect we can move on… like having someone scratch your back...a little left, higher, more to the right….ahhhh, right there!
It’s a powerful awareness because we are energetic beings. We know when someone is pulling our leg. We can see past the fake. I once had an employee who wasn’t very good at the job. I believe in giving everyone the benefit of support and guidance before any consequence. Every time I would guide her, she would respond very appropriately in words and tone. But something was off. I could not put my finger on it until one day, I realized the energy behind the words was: Fuck you! Needless to say, we parted ways.
Ever have a disagreement with a friend or partner and ask, “Are you okay?” just to hear the classic response that has so many layers it’s sometimes paralyzing to know how to proceed?
“I’m fine.” It’s not even the tone, lack of eye contact or stiff body language, it’s the energy.
Because the same words have the capacity to comfort or throw daggers depending on the energy behind them.
Words can be Bait
The political noise that is currently dividing us uses all kinds of hook words to bait us in, trigger fear and foster a sense of “us vs. them.” Comedian Patton Oswalt has a great bit in his show, Talking for Clapping, about how, sometimes, the people who use the most offensive words or phrases are really coming from the most heartfelt open place and the people who use the most politically correct language may be using them to obfuscate their intolerance. I am no stranger to feeling provoked by words purposely designed to suck me in and trigger deep-rooted emotion. I’m not immune to taking the bait either. One of my boyfriends would calmly use my full and complete name in the middle of an argument because he knew it literally Drove.Me.Crazy. My own name was bait I could not resist!
In my coaching, I hear relationship problems like this all the time. One or both partners focus on the words the other uses instead of the energy behind them. (I’m raising my hand here, because I did this a lot.)
Ultimately, words have the power to bring us connection or isolate our experience.
If we let them that is.
Words are how I get to communicate with you right now, so hallelujah!
Because. . .Words are fun!
They’re a great construct to build from. They are the color palette of poets, authors, copywriters, speakers. As a speaker and writer myself, I love playing around to find the right words to communicate effectively, to connect meaningfully, to engage, to inspire, to create emotion and depth.
I love engaging verbal banter and appreciate a witty turn of phrase. The right word at the right time spoken by the right person in the right way is thrilling! And, don’t get too focused on the word “right” here as meaning “correct” as if some words could be wrong...I think if you feel into the words, you innately get it...and that's my point.
Remember, you get to decide what power you put behind your words. You also get to decide how you receive the words of others. And you can still ask others to use different words around you - like appropriate pronouns or not swearing.
You have the power to use words wisely. Like any tool, they can be a useful instrument or a deadly weapon. You have the power to build someone up with the energy of your words or take them down. Most of all, you have the power to acknowledge that words are a reflection of the individual using them as well as a reflection of how you choose to perceive them.
So, tell me…
Anything come up as you read this about your own relationship to words?
Did you notice any patterns in your own thought process?
Have you ever caught yourself having an unconscious thought not in alignment with the experience?
Ever found yourself caught in an online war with a complete stranger through a social media post?
Throughout the next week I invite you to notice how you react to words. Try and do it without judgement, but rather as a key to unlocking inner truths about yourself.
Email me your experience if any. I’m always interested in hearing how others experience words in their own life. Let’s look at what might be happening behind those emotions and bring the word to light.