Do the words you use shape your reality?

I’m a big advocate for coaching and for developing yourself. I’m forever telling people that I am on a journey and usually very proud of that! That being said, one of the recent exercises I went through with my coach threw me for a loop. She asked me to look at my word choice and to try reframing it. When I asked why, always my favorite question, she said that my word choice could be shaping my reality and preventing me from even trying to change. It was a difficult concept for my mind to get around, so we actually spent quite a bit of time on the exercise. At first, I didn’t see how changing a word or two would make that much difference to what I was trying to say – or worse trying to do. After all, it was the truth, wasn’t it? After working on it for several weeks now, I can honestly say that I do.

I would say things like, “I’m not that person,” or “That’s just not me” or even worse “I’ve never been good at that.” Very black and white, very definitive, with no room for change. With the help of my coach, I’ve reworded what I was trying to say and said instead, “Up until now, I haven’t had the opportunity to do that,” or “Previously, I wasn’t able to do that.” Writing the two versions of the phrases, I can see quite clearly that in the first version there is no possibility, and worse a solidification of a belief system that may or may not still serve me. The second version on the other hand, is headed toward another possibility and perhaps someday in the not-so-distant future, I could be that person. It’s a small change in words, but the difference in the attitude and thinking, at least for me, is profound.

It seems very obvious now, that by asking yourself and others to think about who they could be next keeps us from falling into the trap of believing we have arrived, and that keeps us living in a world of possibilities instead of protecting and defending the current reality.

To finish, I’d like to challenge you. Do the words you use shape your reality? Are you standing still and limiting yourself with your word choice?

Hope this helps!

Alesandra Blakeston

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