🙊 6 Language Patterns to Avoid 🙉
I am obsessed with self-study and contemplative practice. If we want to grow and offer our best selves to the world, self-awareness is key.
But sometimes we get stuck in habit patterns from our past and don't even recognize we're self-sabotaging. I'm fascinated how even subtleties in language can have massive effect on how others perceive us, and how we feel about ourselves.
Here are 5 negative language patterns to tighten up...
1. NOT LISTENING --
How well do you listen when someone else is speaking? Do you look at them and really hear what they are saying? Or are you more focused on sharing your thoughts and points of view? Do you ever cut people off when speaking?
We have all surely been the non-listener AND as the non-listened to. Both ends leave you feeling like poo.
It is my experience that people are remembered more by how they listen, than by what they say. When speaking with people today and the rest of this week, experiment with your listening skills. Bring your full awareness to the other person and take it off yourself. It feels nice to truly hear another.
Notice how much stronger the connection is when you FULLY listen. And notice who out there grants you that same gift. THOSE are your people.
2. SELF DEPRECATING HUMOR --
This is a tough one for me. I love to poke fun at myself in front of others. But it quickly becomes a comfortable habit. You, then, become the focus of all your jokes. You quest becomes one of looking for flaws in yourself to then use as fodder for your next punch line.
We can do better.
This may start out lightheartedly, but the problem with serial self-deprecators is that we then extend this practice onto those closest to us, and often unknowingly. Our children, partners, family, etc. become who we undermine to get a laugh. They certainly don't deserve this (especially kids who can't fend for themselves). And they might not find your antics quite so funny.
Be careful with this one. It's seductive, and can be fun when used occasionally. But getting too comfortable here can have negative effects on those closest to you too, not to mention your own self-concept.
3. DIARRHEA MOUTH --
Studies show that talking about ourselves feels just as good as sex to the brain. Holy cow. It's so good, in fact, that we just can't freaking stop.
I need not explain this one. You don't need more diarrhea of the screen, too.
But bring a little attention to how much you speak when with others. Are people looking away as you're speaking? Have YOU asked them any questions? (refer to point 1).
It may feel great to dump our messy load on someone else, but it certainly doesn't feel quite as good to the receiver. Ask more questions and listen with genuine interest.
4. UGLY I AM STATEMENTS --
I am sooo tired today!
Oh, I'm hanging in there.
How many of these have you used? We've all used them.
We cannot blame anyone but ourselves when the universe gives us exactly what we see and say. Telling everyone how tired you are? Don't be surprised if the tiredness carries on.
Just hanging in there? Allow the world to cut another string to show you just how shakily you're hanging.
So, how am I today?
I'm fucking awesome! Thanks for asking!
5. FILLER OR SPACE --
Ug. This one makes me squirm because it's hard for me.
Do you ever walk into a group and notice the silence, awkward or not, and then decide to fill it with your own verbal vomit? (Not that all the words you spew are of a vomitous consistency, of course.)
But the need to fill space just so that you, or others may not feel uncomfortable is a toughie. When using language with this kind of pressure and urgency, we often say things we shouldn't. Or say things of no value at all. "How about those clouds today!"
Silence is golden. Let it be. It is not your responsibility to set the tone for all those around you all the time.
6. CHRONIC DOWN-PLAYER
Wow! You look so beautiful today!
Oh, yeah. I looked like shit yesterday, so I had to step it up today.
We have all done different and ridiculous versions of this. "Thank you," is the appropriate answer here. Nothing more, nothing less. Take a compliment.