I have been giving words a lot of thought today, listening to how and what I say and trying to make sense of the power that words have for us. Its been a bit of an interesting one for me to explore.
I am a wordy person, I like to using words in the written form and I like a good old chat (I have my mum to thank for that – She had a first class degree in long conversations – known fondly in Glasgow as “an awfy blether” or being able to “talk the hind legs off a donkey”). In my work as a therapist I find myself intrigued by the words that people use to describe how they are feeling and have learned that really listening to these words hold keys into what is needed to help them rebalance.
Words can be a useful tool or a harsh weapon. They can express a feeling or a sentiment, they can comfort and reassure, they can confuse, uplift, inspire and cause deep pain. They are can be enigmatic and at times can be totally elusive.
How many times have you heard someone say something and been totally inspired and motivated by their words, or been hurt by the biting words from someone, sometimes glib comments said with no malice can be taken like a dagger wound to the heart. It is our perception of those words and the perceived feel of the energy behind them that causes us problems.
You know that feeling when someone says something really quite harsh but delivers it from a place of love and we are able to hear them but deflect the harshness in favour of learning something either about ourselves or about the person delivering those words.
Then there are the times when someone says something nice or positive to you but that grating nagging feeling shows up within you, and you know something just doesn’t feel right, the words said are being delivered from a less than positive place in that person. Their negativity may well have absolutely nothing to do with us but we feel it and adopt it as if it was an arrow thrown intentionally. We have no idea why we feel hurt or deflated by these words – as after all they were positive and pleasant – but we are picking up on the energy the person delivering them is dealing with at this time.
Don’t get me wrong some people give compliments and praise freely. But do so out of some need to be seen as “nice” or “supportive” and really do deliver them in a less than supportive way. That’s when our inner bullshit detector fires up and alerts us to this. Remember this is good as its giving us the heads up not to let that energy into our own energy system too readily.
If we can detach ourselves and question what we feel then we can save ourselves the confusion and hurt of accepting any form of energy or validity from the words. Noting what their words trigger in us is insightful and gifts us the ability to learn and grow.
There are 3 essences I tend to use a lot if I find myself in a situation where I am faltering in response to what someone has said to me. Ground Moss for when they trigger hyper emotional responses and it literally feels that I have lost ability to do anything about how I feel.
Another essence is Red Chestnut, when I get caught in the thought loop of a conversation “post mortem”” and spiral into the “could have” “ should have” and further on into the negative self chatter that leads me to be panicky and feeling like the worst thing that could happen – has actually happened! (This is most definitely not the case – if we were in a worst case scenario we would be too busy coping in fight or flight mode and taking action to even think about anything.)
The other I find helpful in this situation, and in particular if I know that I am having to be around a person that is prone to acting in a way that takes me to the more negative dwelling side of things is Walnut Moss, it allows me to digest their words and choose wisely before accepting anything energetically from them, it also helps me process my thoughts and compose my own words wisely and saves me from dropping into a triggered knee jerk response to their words.
One of the hardest things to deal with is when words “fail” us. You know the occasions when someone asks you a question and you just can’t find an answer anywhere, the more you search in your mind for one, the more the panic rises and the more the ability to find the words gets further away.
Another question that arises from my “word ponder” is Why do we feel the need to fill any silences with words. Those times when all goes quiet and the knot in our stomach builds pushing us into that need to fill the silence with words, often we don’t really want to talk, nor does the other person but we end up filling an awkward silence with meaningless words that in the end make us feel inadequate and stupid and builds that weird energy that is counterproductive when we pick up on the stickiness of how the strained conversation is going.
That isn’t to say that it is good to strike up a conversation with whoever we meet but to do so when we feel it, rather than when we are merely trying to feel less uncomfortable in the situation we find ourselves in.
I used to get quite frustrated if someone broke into my silence with mindless chatter. However I do try to be mindful that perhaps the person doing so may have a real need just to feel heard. Often much of our own frustrations come from not feeling heard too! There is a huge difference between listening to someone and actually hearing them. The greatest gift you can give someone to actually listen to them without judgement.
Our own words also affect us as much if not more than they affect others. If our inner voice is criticising it can render us powerless. In fact our inner critic says way worse things to us than anyone else can – and more regularly! You can learn to tame the critic and be aware of what your mind chatter is telling you. It can be your greatest enemy or your finest coach so choose those words in thought wisely.
Don’t believe everything your inner voice says to you and this again comes down to the question everything. If its your coach heed its wise words and if its your critic question what it is that it is trying to prevent you from doing. Often its coming from the centre of our fears and in trying to protect us from being disappointed it keeps us from the optimism of trying.
Not only what you say, but how you say it has a big impact on how we are received by others. So choose wisely and always think before you share your words with others.
In this era of technology it is a totally different ball game as although the energy behind a text or email can be felt on some level, there is a complexity that also brings our state of mind when reading the messages into a contributing factor to how we presume the words are meant. Trying to explore further into that topic was a little too much for my brain to handle today !
So I shall leave you with some more words…. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to others especially when it comes to self talk. …
My gratitude to you if you have got this far – Thank you for reading my words I hope they give you food for thought!
Lovely Sally, I was just pondering the need to be heard without judgement, without one-up-manship or comparison, without being interrupted…. just to be heard. If we all practiced this for our friends and family how much better would we all cope in our modern world?
Would definitely create a positive ripple Rebecca x