A good friend recently said this to me, while complaining about their job:
“I’m stuck! I have no choice. I’m too old. I can’t get a new job that’s going to pay me what I’m getting now.”
And my heart broke for them. Not because what they said was true, but because they believed it to be. Once you start speaking as if you can’t, and you have no choice, then you literally create that reality for yourself.
What we speak/write/communicate to the world and what we think inform each other. Like an endless loop. For the most part, if we think we’re courageous, we can tell people that we’re courageous, and in doing so we reinforce the thoughts and the beliefs that we have courage.
By the same token, if we tell someone we aren’t very intelligent, then that informs a thought and belief that we’re in fact not intelligent.
This is a feedback loop. An effect creates a cause, which informs the effect, and so on and so forth. We all know how difficult it can be to change a negative belief we hold about ourselves and the world, and this is why. Once a belief gains some steam, it’s hard to break. But not impossible. Never impossible.
The real damage that can arise from this system is when the words we speak, and the beliefs we hold, are rooted in “can’t.”
There’s a crucial element to this whole system, and it’s that words and thoughts beget actions. This is the crux of how words can create our realities. Actions are who we are in the world, what we do, and how we experience it. And our actions are wholly inspired by what we believe.
To give you a very concrete example, let’s say that I don’t know how to swim. Deep water scares me, but my parents have a pool, and it’s terribly hot, and gosh I’d just really love to go for a swim. Someone asks me why I don’t jump in.
I say, deliberately choosing the words: “I can’t swim.” This reinforces my thoughts and knowledge around the fact that I don’t know to swim. But I didn’t use those words “I don’t know how,” I used the words “I can’t.” There is actually a huge difference here!
Once I say, “I can’t swim,” the thought “I can’t swim” becomes a thought and a belief. If I believe that I can’t swim (not “won’t” not “don’t know how” but “can’t”), then that’s it. I am unable to. It’s not a possibility for me. I then take actions that reinforce these thoughts and beliefs, and I live in a world where I can’t swim.
But had I just used the words “I don’t know how to swim,” then that leaves ample room for other thoughts, such as “How do I learn? Where do I learn? When will I learn?” And with those beliefs, I suddenly live in a world where I might sign up for swimming lessons, or ask a friend of family member to teach me. This is a world where I might not know how to swim right now, but I could.
You can try this for yourself and actually feel a difference in how you perceive the world and interact with it.
First, figure out what it is you’d like to do, or be, or have. Think to yourself, write it down, or speak the words: “I can’t do ___…I can’t have ____…” etc.
How does that feel? Tense? Claustrophobic? Stagnant?
Now reframe those words and that belief. You can use “I don’t know how,” or “I don’t currently have,” or “I am in the process of,” etc.
How does that feel?
Are other thoughts joining that one? Are you getting any inspiration, ideas, or even just a sense of hope?
See, words are the difference between locked doors, and wide paths. Words define and create new possibilities. In living a joyful, abundant, and exciting life, knowing how to communicate creatively is so important.
I’ll be sharing much more on this subject in a workshop on October 17th. You can join me live, or have access to the recorded training, by getting your ticket here.