The Power of Words: Should-ing Ourselves

“One kind word can warm three winter months.” ~ Japanese Proverb

It’s true, isn’t it?  You remember that time that someone just out of the blue told you how great you looked or how thoughtful you were or how smart your plan was.  A sensation of warmth radiated through you all day.  Maybe even all week.  And you remember the opposite happening, too, right?  The sensation of almost physical pain at a thoughtless word from someone…maybe even from you, yourself.

In class this morning, we played with the power of words as we set our intents for the new year.  Often, we focus on something we think we SHOULD be doing.  “I SHOULD drink more water.” “I SHOULD spend more time with the kids.” “I SHOULDN’T eat dessert.  Ever.”  Think of something that falls in this category for you and say it to yourself (or if you’re feeling bold, say it out loud):  “I SHOULD ___.”  And how does that feel?  If you’re like me, when I say a SHOULD to myself, I feel a sense of contraction and futility.  As if I’ve already not done it and am not likely to even a little bit .

And yet, we want to set our intention toward the things we want to create for our lives.  So experiment with the words.  Take that same phrase, that same thing you think you SHOULD do and say, “I COULD drink more water.” “I COULD spend more time with the kids.” “I COULD skip dessert.”

Does that feel a little different?  For me, it feels like a possibility.  As if I just said to myself, “Hey, I have a great idea!”  Much more easeful.

We can take it further.  Experiment with “I CAN skip dessert.”  Well now.  That feels more like an ability that I already have.  And an invitation.  Coolio.

How about this:  “I WANT TO drink more water.” “I WANT TO eat more vegetables.”  “I WANT TO start a yoga practice.” “I WANT TO write a blog to share with my dancing friends!”  Hot Dog!  Now I’m in.

Simply re-framing the words can make all the difference.  Notice the sensations of the words you use (internally and externally) and choose the ones that warm you up, even on a chilly day like today.

  1. Jen L. said:

    amen. this is very powerful. i have been practicing using “can” and “want” since december. i feel better just with the language change. coolio indeed.

    • It’s amazing how much different it feels to me to say “I want to sleep great” instead of “I don’t want to have insomnia” ~ or whatever variation of the day. And I notice how different it feels when others use this language. Rock on.

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