“There are words which sever hearts more than sharp swords; there are words the point of which sting the heart through the course of a whole life.”- Frederika Bremer
Words have the ability to create a wonderful life or destroy lifelong relationships. To build someone up, or tear them down. How we choose to use our words towards each other is very important. But even more important is how we use them when we speak to ourselves. Words have an enormous impact on how we experience our lives.
Rather than say things like, “I’m just not that good,” we can choose to say, “I’m getting better everyday.” My life has improved so dramatically once I learned how powerful our words are, and how important it is to choose our words carefully. The words we choose, and how we use them really do affect the way others behave towards us.
I was grooming at my friend Barbara’s salon in Lawrenceville, GA, called Swanky Paws Pet Spa, one day when this lesson really hit home. I accidentally caught a piece of skin on the bridge of a Bichon Frise’s nose while I was combing that area. There was blood all over the place! Not really, but with a freshly groomed white coat it seemed like it. When the owner came to pick her dog up, I apologized profusely. I told her it was all my fault, that I was an idiot, how sorry I am, how horrible I am, blah blah blah.
After the owner left, Barbara turns to me and says,”Jun, rather than say ‘I’m sorry’ for things that you don’t want – which is disempowering – say ‘Thank you’ for what you do want – which is empowering.” Then she gave me an example. Rather than say, “I’m sorry I accidentally knicked your dog,” say, “Thank you for being so understanding.” Rather than say, “I’m sorry I took so long,” instead you could say, “Thank you for being so patient.”
She explained to me that by saying “I’m sorry” for what you don’t want, you give up all your power and it makes you seem weak. Saying “Thank you” for what you do want makes you seem in control of the situation, and shows that you appreciate how they are treating you. It makes it very difficult for someone to be mean or rude to you after you’ve thanked them for being patient and understanding.
I’d like to share another helpful phrase that I use when I catch myself saying something negative or disempowering about myself: “But I’m getting better.”
For example: “My closest friends know that I’ve always struggled with insecurity and low self-esteem, but I’m getting better.” Or, “I have a really tough time with Poodle top knots, but I’m getting better.” “Westie heads have always been difficult for me, but I’m getting better!” Immediately follow up any negative statement with the positive, true statement, “but I’m getting better.” As you do this more and more, you’ll notice that you really do start to feel better about yourself without feeling like a fraud.
We put ourselves down without even being consciously aware of it. We tell ourselves things like, “Yeah right, you think you can do that?” Or, “They’ll think you’re showing off like you think you’re better than everyone. Then they’ll all laugh at you if you fail.”
Whenever thoughts like these come into my mind, I like to remind myself of quotes from people who were much wiser than me. People like Marcus Aurelius who said that if one man can do a thing, another man can do it too. Or Mother Teresa who reminded us all to “do it anyway,” no matter how the world treats us. She said that the world will criticize whatever you do, doubt you, accuse you of things that are untrue, and kick you when you’re down. But then she says, “Be kind anyway.” Most importantly, be kind to yourself anyway. No matter how many times you messed up in the past, or the things you did when you didn’t know better. Forgive yourself, and be kind to yourself anyway.
Once we start to become more aware of how we’re talking to ourselves, we can then choose to step in and stand up for ourselves. Be kind to yourself, and in the way you talk to yourself. Dr. Wayne Dyer said that we cannot give what we don’t have. If you want to give kindness, you must first have it for yourself.
Tell yourself that you ARE special and unique. Remind yourself of the truth, that there is no one else quite like you. No one can share your unique talents and abilities with the world the way you can.
I think that the moment you realize how special and unique you REALLY are, and how important you are to others, you will begin to realize that if it’s true for you it must be true for me and everyone else as well. “We are here for all of us. That’s why we are here.” Alicia Keys
“Today you are You,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
― Dr. Seuss