Today I will embrace life using a positive language approach that aligns itself with my desires.
I will speak in terms of outcome and potential.
I will use language that empowers and moves me forward.
The other day I listened as a close friend told me, “I’m going to stop (blanking). I don’t want to do that anymore. It’s not healthy.” The language he used set off bells and whistles in my head. He was approaching the change he wanted to make from a negative perspective, however subtle it may have been, and his words reflected his view. He was focusing on the original behavior, which he viewed negatively, and it was from that same negative slant he was approaching change. There’s a huge energetic and emotional difference between choosing to STOP something and choosing to START something. NOT wanting to do something is the exact opposite of WANTING to do something. Though his words were truthful, they told me he was in a for a struggle if he didn’t change his approach. I gently explained that if he shifted his thinking and language from what he DOESN’T want to what he DOES want, he’d have a much better chance of creating lasting change. Gratefully, he listened and understood.
We all approach life from a less than ideal outlook sometimes and can slip into negative language easily, but we can shift our point of view by focusing on what we want, what we seek, what we hope for, and what we are moving toward, instead of their opposites. Instead of complaining (the focus being on what we don’t like) we can suggest, which puts our attention on what we want. Instead of saying what we will not tolerate, we can talk about what we will accept. Instead of talking about not doing something unhealthy, we can talk about doing something healthy. There’s a powerful difference between saying “I just quit smoking.” and “I just started being healthier.” “I won’t put up with this anymore.” has a very different energy and emotion to it than “I will accept nothing less than better.”
I think Mother Theresa probably summed it up best. “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”