“I AM, the two most powerful words. For what you put after them shapes your reality”
Let’s play a game, I’ll call this the “Game of Words”, I’ll be your host Jon Snow. Rules of the game are you have to say as many words as you can think of. These must be words that you tell yourself on a daily basis.
Now set your timer to 30 seconds because that will be all the time you have to complete this. And remember to be as honest as possible while making this list
Now, if you actually played this game, you’re probably a complete weirdo like myself, and I like that. If not, then answer this question hypothetically. How many positive words would or did you have as opposed to negative ones on your list?
If you’re like most humans I’d say an average for 1 positive for ever 24,000 negative words; meaning you made up 14,000 more negative English words just to insult yourself,. Well at least that’s the science behind it. I know, depressing.
But why is this so? Why is it so much easier to be negative than positive when talking to ourselves?
It’s funny how we often praise others while putting ourselves down in the name of humility. For instance, when somebody compliment’s you on “how good you look in that shirt”, you may often say something like, “ nah I look like crap, but you, YOU look amazing!”
This is done from a place of pure sincerity, and admiration for the person who complimented you; yet in reality it is not exactly a true depiction of humility in the slightest. There’s a great quote my C.S Lewis that states, “ humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”.
The version of humility we have been raised on is one that has winners and losers, as many other aspects of our civilization do. We are taught that in order for somebody to be lifted up, another has to be put down. Thus when we receive the gift that is a compliment, we put it upon ourselves to make ourselves the lesser in that situation by downplaying the compliment we’re been given, in an exhibition of our “humble nature”.
This false sense of modesty may seem innocent at it’s surface, but beyond that lays a danger for the beholder.
For one, it is the rejection of something beautiful; maybe not in our own minds, but to those who bestow it upon us. It not only gives off the notion that we do not deserve it, but it is a total dismissal of another’s kindness.
It’s like a little girl who get’s a gift every Christmas and she tell’s her family that she does not deserve it, which leads her to tearing the gift apart before giving it back; in hopes of coming off as humble or modest.
Well, a few Christmas’s pass and she continues to “humbly’ reject the gifts, though she truly want’s them in hear heart of heart’s.
By the 4th Christmas she realizes that there are no longer gifts with her name on them under the Christmas tree. In her heart she wanted those gifts and therefore is heart broken by the lack there of. She begins to actually believe that she didn’t deserve the gifts in the first place; yet it was her own actions that lead to the gifts no longer being presented to her.
This is exactly what happens when we give off the impression that we do not want what we are being offered, in this case uplifting words are the gifts. Every compliment is a gift, and true humility consists of not rejecting the gift, but receiving it whole heartedly, being grateful for it, and returning the favor without tearing apart our own.
Whether you’ve opened a bible or not I’m sure you’ve hurt the saying that the tongue is mightier than the sword, or “life and death is in the tongue”. Whether you are religious or not does not take away the truth in these statements.
Just think about the last time somebody said something that truly hurt you to your core, whether it was an insult or bad news. Did these words not pierce you like a sword? In all honesty words might be worse because they will stick with you, whereas a wound from a blades edge will eventually heal.
And as far as the whole “life and death is in the tongue thing”; seem’s pretty dramatic doesn’t it? Well I’d like you to think of the horror stories that you hear of children taking their own lives due to bullying, verbally abuse, or emotional detachment. Not to get morbid on you, but it is a reality that the word’s we chose can literally create and develop, or destroy and cause havoc.
So then why do you feel that the words you use on yourself will not have this exact same effect, or worse?
No outside influencers word’s could harm you anymore than your own could.
In fact, when somebody says something negative to us, it only gains power once we actually chose to accept it as a reality for ourselves. This means that when we repeat the words to ourselves; then and only then to they begin to manifest in our own existence.
When you have certainty about yourself, the word’s will never hurt you, as the Care Bear’s once eloquently stated (if you don’t remember them, ask Google).
But most of us were not raised up with the full on confidence in ourselves that is necessary to have a fulfilling life. Therefore the criticism’s we received are often taken to heart; most of those being our own criticisms’ which were passed down by those whose opinions we saw value in.
It’s like the young girl who was at her house singing her heart out, when her mother arrived home in a terrible mood. Her mother told her daughter to keep quiet but the young girl continued. Her mother became aggravated, and even went as far as to say that her daughter had a terrible singing voice, so she should just shut it up.
Now sure the mother was having a terrible day, and the daughter might have even known this; but at such a vulnerable stage in her life it was difficult for her not to take her mother’s words to heart.
The story goes that the young girl never attempted to sing again, I mean literally, never. When her girlfriends were singing along to Nicki or Drake in the car she would hum along; nothing more. And when asked to recite the lyrics to a song she was trying to explain to a friend, she would immediately change the conversation in fears of exposing her “terrible singing voice”.
The word’s that she was repeating in her head were, “you cannot sing, you have a terrible singing voice. Don’t embarrass yourself”; these are what I call fighting words.
Fighting word’s are any negative word’s we use to combat our self affirmation, positive thoughts, and plans of action. They are words we use as tools of the destruction of our own confidence. Sadly we have been programmed with more cants than cans, meaning the repertoire of our fighting words greatly outweighs the arsenal of the positive ones.
For example, when your intention is to go to the gym, the fighting word’s kick in and tell you that “there is no use, you are too fat, everybody will laugh at you if you go!”.
Fighting words are always harsh, and brutally demonizing; yet sadly enough we used them more than we use positive affirmations simply because it has been normalized in our society. It’s “humble” to think less of yourself, yet it is looked at as arrogant to have believe in yourself and to act upon that belief.
As individuals who seek growth, we must literally safeguard ourselves from these words; we must forever stay on the defense as we combat the invasion of these “fighters”. Just like a healthy self image will defend you from external negativity, so will it defend you from those parasitic self conversations of fighting words.
The truth of the matter is no fighting word’s actually belong to you, I mean sure you claim them and take ownership of them, but that doesn’t make them anymore yours as claiming a sports team makes that team your own.
These are all word’s that we have heard from the time we stepped food on this rotating ball. It is no surprise that a household with an exchange of negative words will end up producing children that speak in such a matter, the same goes for a house filled with positive reinforcements.
But even the home you grow up in cannot protect you from what you soak in from those around you who have already been conditioned, the media, school, work, and anywhere else you are exposed to people.
I mean, I didn’t learn how to curse in my own home, I had some outside assistance for that one. Therefore the negative chatter we have going on in our own minds is also not ours, or at least was not created by us. No baby is born telling him or herself that they are a “worthless piece of s***.”
Only as we are programmed into the next phases of life do we begin to have self chatter such as,
- “You are so embarrassing”
- “Everybody hates me”
- “What’s wrong with you?”
- “I literally can’t believe you’re that dumb”
- “Do you know how to do anything right”
- “Everybody’s looking, they all think you’re stupid”
And these are just the thoughts of an 18 year old Barista who gave the wrong order to the wrong person, again.
You did not create these notions about yourself, you were taught them and therefore you repeat them. These fighting word’s are truly NA-CHO’s as the old joke goes ( get it, not yours, nacho’s…ok I’m done).
Granted, I am not saying you must go out in public and begin to yell at the top of your lungs just how amazing you are, unless you feel it necessary then by all means be my guest. What I am saying is that you do not have to be the butt of your own joke just to make people feel better about themselves, because the truth is, in most cases it will not be so. Do not insult yourself at the expense of someone else’s esteem.
There is enough room for everybody to feel good about themselves, and it makes for a much better conversation; just take a look at groups of girls who “gas” each other us ( meaning overly complimenting one another, usually before they go out to a social event). Or when a group of guy’s compliment each other on their choice of moisturizer…ok maybe that one doesn’t happen as often, but I think you get the point.
There can always be a win-win situation when it comes to the giving of good words. Fighting word’s do not make you more humble, but instead do the opposite and show a lack of appreciation of the gift you are being given.
Learn to accept the gifts you get from others by simply being thankful, and most importantly accept your own gifts.
As corny as it sounds, tell yourself how good you look today. Compliment yourself on how smart you are, and what how hard you worked for that final exam or promotion you got on your job.
You can still keep your humility, and actually fully express it by not viewing yourself as being better than anybody, but always remember that you are no worst. The word’s you carry contain much power, use this power wisely and you will see your life literally change with each conversation.