[In this series we examine the importance of the words we use and how changing our vocabulary can change our mind giving us opportunity for transformation. More articles can be found in this series @ Tools: Words]
One of the common mistakes we make when assessing a situation is making a generalizations. We say things like, “Everyone at work hates me!” or “Nothing I do is good enough for my boss!” It is obvious with a few moments of reflection that these statements aren’t true. Sure, there might be one or two people at work we don’t get along with, but it is not “everyone”.
The problem with these types of generalizations is they move us to a place were we are responding to them as if they were true. (The words we say out loud have that much power.)
If I walk into my workplace believing that everyone hates me I am going to act in a particular way. If I walk into my workplace believing that I don’t get along with Bill and Mary. I am going to act in a different way.
In the first situation I am going to come in ready for a fight at every turn while in the second situation I am going to know the two people I need to avoid through out the day if it is possible. Those are two dramatically different emotional states.
In addition to the generalization that we can have about what others think and feel we can also fall into the trap of generalization about ourselves. For example we can have generalization about our own actions and outcomes, “I fail at everything I try!”
One of the most troublesome of these generalizations about ourselves we can have is when we assign a characteristic of a group to ourselves. These types of generalizing can be about (but not limited to) our gender, race/ethnicity, age, job, and family. For example:
- You know that men aren’t very good with talking about their emotions.
- You know how fiery the Irish can be.
- People my age can’t learn all this new technology.
- EFT practitioners are just bad at marketing themselves.
- The men in my family have never been lucky in relationships.
These types of generalization (like all generalization) often have a seed of truth in them. They become problematic when they are taken as total truth.
If I believe that, “The men in my family have never been lucky in relationships” then it is going to be very easy for me on a subconscious level to sabotage myself. Because I “know” it isn’t going to work out in the end I might as well end it now to avoid future pain.
It is amazing how a simple statement that we would just toss off as a fact the same way we would say “It is sunny today” can so dramatically affect our behavior.
I have found a very simple way that we can take the power out of these phrases. We can do this by bring our own responsibility to these statements. All we need to do is add, “…and I choose this as my reality” to the end of the phrase. When we do this we are changing from a member of a group with a characteristic (which we are a victim of) to being a person who is choosing our own reality.
Notice how much different each of these phrase feel when we add that phrase on to the end:
- You know that men aren’t very good with talking about their emotions and I choose this as my reality.
- You know how fiery the Irish can be and I choose this as my reality.
- People my age can’t learn all this new technology and I choose this as my reality.
- EFT practitioners are just bad at marketing themselves and I choose this as my reality.
- The men in my family have never been lucky in relationships and I choose this as my reality.
When we choose something it means that we can change it. I am not longer at the mercy of the whims of fate, but I am back in control. If I want to keep that as my reality, great(!), but it is my choice. If I want to be something else I can choose that as well. When we take responsibility for our situation then we control our situation. When we control our situation we can become who we want to be.