Choose Your Words Wisely
We should choose our words wisely. Most of us, at some time in our lives, have had the experience of wishing we could take back something we’ve said or at least have said it very differently. We’ve seen firsthand the impact our words can have on others and the quality and depth of our relationships.
There are countless books to help us improve our ability to communicate and speak more skillfully or persuasively. In this article, however, I would like to discuss how you communicate with you. That is, I would like to bring your attention to the power your internal dialogue can have on you and your life.
You’ve likely heard the advice to think positively. But have you ever really understood why the private communications we have floating through our minds in the form of our thoughts are really so important?
The significance of our thoughts is related to our implicit subconscious mind. As Dan Siegel explains, our mind is comprised of two subsystems, our explicit conscious mind and our implicit subconscious mind. Our explicit mind is our smart, rational mind yet comprises only 5-10% of our mind’s overall memory/thought system. Our implicit subconscious mind is much larger (comprising 90-95% of our memory/thought system) and more powerful. However, the main drawback of our implicit mind is that it’s not smart per se. Instead, the subconscious mind functions much like a computer.
When you program a computer, the computer doesn’t stop and say, “Hey, are you sure about that last command?” The computer simply produces an output based exactly on how it was programmed.
Think of your subconscious mind as a very powerful computer that is just waiting for you to program it with a “command” that it can dutifully fulfill for you. What many people don’t realize is that our thoughts serve as the commands to our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind will try to create whatever you direct it to according to your thoughts. Whether you want it to or not, your life will start reflecting the thoughts you engage over time due to the inordinate power of our subconscious mind.
Once you’ve begun to really comprehend how important your thinking is to creating your life, the next key is to start observing your thoughts much more carefully. When considering your thoughts, ask yourself the following questions:
Do your thought reflect what you would actually like your subconscious mind to create for you literally?
If you wrote your thought as a command in a computer system, would you be content with the output?
For example, if in the morning, I focus on the thought, “I’m tired,” I would be instructing my subconscious mind to create a state in which I’m tired – not exactly the most constructive thought as I’m preparing for my day.
Consider some common thoughts below and what the subconscious mind actually hears.
“It’ll never work.”
-The command the subconscious mind hears: “Make sure it doesn’t work.”
“School is so hard.”
-The command the subconscious mind hears: “Make sure school is difficult and that you don’t succeed.”
“He/she won’t want to go out with me.”
-The command the subconscious mind hears: “Make sure the relationship doesn’t succeed.”
“ I’m catching a cold.”
-The command the subconscious mind hears: “Increase symptoms of feeling ill.”
“We’re definitely going to lose to that team.”
-The command the subconscious mind hears: “Make sure our team doesn’t succeed.”
“I can’t ever get ahead with money.”
-The command the subconscious mind hears: “Make sure that money’s always a struggle.”
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how important it is to watch your thoughts like a hawk. Remember, you have an incredible “biocomputer” sitting on your shoulders eagerly waiting to respond to your commands and create whatever you dictate through your thinking. Be sure that if you took your thoughts literally they would actually reflect what you would like your subconscious mind to create for you. The more you learn to harness the power of your thinking in this way, the better position you will be in to create your ideal life!
Siegel, D. (2012). The developing mind (2nd edition). New York, NY: The Guildford Press.
I often find it helpful to use metaphors to capture our internal experiences of life. I wanted to share a metaphor that came to me the other...
We should choose our words wisely. Most of us, at some time in our lives, have had the experience of wishing we could take back something we...