Words Have Power

I was thinking about the last episode of worry I had. The situation is resolved now, but because I told myself so many times how it could have turned out, the emotion still lingers when I think of that topic. I still feel a slight ping of anxiety just thinking about it, or seeing anything that reminds me of it, and then I have to tell myself that it’s over now.  “It’s over. It’s fine. It all turned out ok. Just calm down.”  *Exhale*

This lead me to a train of thought about how powerful words are. Not only words we say out loud, or to others, but even what we say in our head. And it’s not just that we’re self-talking, it’s the precise words we choose, and the emotions we attach to them as we repeat them over and over. This is especially true when we immediately jump to a particular conclusion. We are programming ourselves for an emotional and physical response. You may even call it brainwashing.  Even though my situation is resolved, I have put so much effort in to telling myself how bad it surely was going to turn out, that now it has the power to continue to scare me. Although, I’ve been actively using new, positive words to combat it, and it’s working.

My father told me many years ago, that you choose your mood. He said you also choose how to react to situations. For the most part, he was right. Actually, he’s entirely right, it’s just that it sounds much simpler than it is. If we choose to frame a given situation in our minds in an inflammatory, scary or negative way, then we give it the power to make us FEEL overwhelmed, scared and sad about it. The reality of the situation is completely different than what we’ve told ourselves, and the result is panic, worry, depression, etc. Once we realize that our perception actually affects our lives, we realize that we have to control it or it will ruin our lives.

We must not let this happen. Any time we come up against a situation we are disappointed with, or don’t know the outcome, we need to use the power of words to frame it in a way that will be beneficial, rather than harmful. Our mission is to challenge our usual negative thoughts with exactly opposite concepts. Even if you don’t believe it, explore the possible positive options, and give them room to take root in your mind, and grow. Practice with various situations of lesser import until you’ve gotten good enough to tackle the big stuff.  Here are some example scenarios to get you started.

• You haven’t heard from someone in a long while (and you think you should have) and you can’t reach them.
Before you begin to panic and imagine all manner of tragic ends for your loved one, run down the list of rational and likely reasons they are unavailable and/or late.
• They may have gotten caught up at work, by a collegue or client.
• Their cell phone might be set to silent or not within reach, or even out of battery.
• A client or boss tells you that you’ve made a costly mistake and they are “freaking out” about it.
Before you decide that you’ll be ridiculed, fired or sued,
• You invited a friend or loved one to an event, and they blew you off or flat out lied with their excuse, or blatantly told you they aren’t interested.
It may hurt because you had an expectation of that person. But before you decide to “unfriend” them or tell them off, ask yourself why the event was so important to you – and why must it be that important to your friend as well? You likely projected your enthusiasm and importance for the event on to that person. Is it fair and reasonable to expect identical feelings from others?
• A friend says something that seems hurtful or insulting. You can’t understand why they aren’t “on your side” or why they think that way about you.
It may be your usual reaction to be angry, defensive or even cry. But before you get to that point ask yourself, does this person really mean me harm? Does he/she intend to belittle me or judge me?





Fire Them!

Sometimes a source of daily or occasional anxiety is a nasty client, or a non-supportive friend.

I’ve recently encountered both, and after listening to the input of true friends, and giving it much thought, I’ve decided that life is way too damn short to tolerate people who clearly do not give thought to the stress they cause others.
There are people in the world who are so busy being caught up in their own needs, they turn a minor slight or disappointment into long, whiny, one-sided complaint about tiny, petty issues. I’m sure you’ve met one or even a few in your lifetime. The problem is, most of the time, these are the type of people who do not actually want to RESOLVE an issue, but rather complain, with creative embellishments (lies) about the injustice and poor treatment they received.  Somehow, even if the issue originally had a basis in truth, it becomes bigger and more tragic and more serious than reality. It is here where it takes on a life of its own, and even though you have no control over it, they blame you for this fabricated nightmare.

Then, of course, it has become an issue that simply must be discussed. “We need to talk.” is an ominous and threatening tactic, reminiscent of grade school children being called into the principal’s office.  Of course, when I hear or read those words, I know that a one-sided “discussion” is about to take place, and no matter what I say, how I recount MY version of events, or the logic behind the actions that actually happened, it will not be heard. The offended party will complain until you give in, give the discount or finally agree with them, issuing a heartfelt and nauseatingly pleading apology.

Here’s my thought on that. FORGET IT, PAL!!  I have enough stress in my day without this one client who will never be satisfied paying my more-than-competitive retail prices, or this one friend who has taken things out of context and turned nothing into something without asking me what it meant.  In my mind, I have already fired them both. The anxiety has already begun to lift, as I ponder a life where I do not ever have to be put through that (by them) again. I’m sure I’ll come across new selfish soul-suckers again in life, but these two… off the list.  I feel better already.

I’m a firm believer in getting rid of things that cause stress, strife, anxiety or sadness.  My suggestion to the reader, why not find one thing in your life that triggers any form of upset, and see what you can do to phase it out of your life?