There is a group of people who strongly believe we can speak our future into existence. While this view is not shared fully by the author of this blog, one thing is universally agreed upon; words have an impact.
With simple words, we can lift the mood of another person or we can crush the dreams of another person. With simple words, we can create war or peace. With the simplicity of word choice, we can start a marriage or end one. The emotional and social impact of words in nearly on the level of creation.
In regards to how we influence our relationship with our words… we shape the nature of the future our relationships will become. Our words are influenced by our beliefs and experiences. Our words can often reflect the conditions of our hearts. We empower or remove power from ourselves and our audience.
In the home, as CEOs, we create the atmosphere that shapes the beliefs our children have and how they view the world. The nature of that view will determine what opportunities they see and what they feel motivated to do about what they see.
Doing a slight play on words, what we speak has prophetic impact. CEOs of the home are mindful of their words and aren’t above apologizing when their words cut wrongly. It’s more than saying “I love you”. It’s more than meaning it as well. It’s about championing success in everyone in the home.
Championing Success Through Empowered Communication
The human mind is great at dealing with images. The word fire brings up very specific images to the mind. The mind then brings about many connections to the image that generates a set of emotions.
For some, it’s painful memories of the devastating power of fire. To others, it’s the promising hope of something new being created… as in welding or brick creating or BBQ. To others, it’s the strong warnings of a loving dad trying to teach a child not to touch the stove while others till have the memory of camping under a starlit sky.
One word. Countless images. Many interpretations to these images. This is why the mind likes solid vivid information rich images. We truly can create a thousand words with one picture.
And that is why words are so important. We can create an atmosphere of joy, peace, fear, hate, anxiety, or healing by the choice of words we use. We shape how people see us by the words we use. We shape how others feel about us with the words we use.
One more example. The expression “butterflies in the stomach” can mean so much to different people. For many, the association of anxiety, fear, and worry comes to mind. For others, it’s the anticipation of winning, the joy of performing, the sweetness of a victorious race about to unfold. When the first encounter with the feeling happens, the words used to help us understand it shapes the way we will face that feeling in the future.
Let’s dive into the negative first and work our way to the positive. It’s nice to end on a good note. Looking at the punitive impact of words to end with the affirmation of words at the end.
Punitive Word Associations
No matter which way you look at the picture, at some point, a parent has to set limits for their child. It’s a safety concern really. No parent, no matter how avant guard their thinking, will allow a child to experiment with exposed electricity or burning flame. Some hard limits have to be set.
However, some parents love to set limits on as many things as they can. Their children often tease that all their parents can ever say is “no” or “don’t do this” and “don’t do that”. Worse, is the “I can’t” message many parents give.
Children love to explore and try new things. That is how they learn best. The constant barrage of “you can’t do this or that” only teaches them to limit their thinking and limit their exploration.
Some limits are vital. Others are generational and/or reflexive. We have to provide certain limits for the sake of structure and safety. No matter how much Sarah likes cookies and wants them, it’s not in her best interest to have cookies all day every day or as often as she feels like it. That broccoli is just as important too.
But then, with children learning through exploration, are we inserting our own fears and insecurities on their world view by saying “don’t” too often?
“Don’t play wit that… you might make too much noise” sounds silly on print, but is a phrase some children find don’t make sense. Maybe the play is not to our liking, or the time is off, or we’re not the playful type. The child doesn’t know the different when all that they hear is “don’t do”.
Instead, which is more parenting work, add context and content to explain the lesson behind the words. Granted, depending on the child’s age, it may not always be possible in real time. But… it’s worth the effort.
“Listen Tim, we don’t bang on the walls at night because it makes a lot of noise when people are trying to sleep. Tomorrow, let’s bang on your drum-set and create music instead”
This sets the limits but also doesn’t stifle the creativity. It allows the child to know when it’s appropriate to explore and when it is not.
All of this work happens in the early years of a child. Same can be said for any relationship really. We set the tone by our words and actions very early on.
Once the formation is set, the results are pretty much automatic. Let’s look at one example from the heads of household perspective.
If early in the relationship, our words trained our partners to believe we like adversarial negotiations, it only stands to be expected that the long term outlook of the relationship will be a contested one.
More specifically, if we’re constantly reprimanding our spouses, constantly picking at details or finding faults, or constantly chipping away at their confidence… the results should not surprise you to have a rocky relationship filled with painful moments.
This is made worse when there is no balance with uplifting and positive words. This impacts both males and females alike. No one likes to hear negative talk all the time.
Worse, it divides and pushes people apart. No one wants to be around negativity all the time, even if it feels safe and comforting for some. It’s just draining.
Then, this attitude feeds into the habits our partner will throw back our way. If we express ourselves very ‘sourly’, we’re also giving our spouse permission to speak to us the same way. This adds power to the adage… “only dish out what you can take”.
While it is necessary, from time to time, to admonish our spouses, the tone we use, the words we use, the attitude we use, will greatly shape the outcome and the life we can expect in the future.