Do words such as ‘I am…’ matter?
Creating a change, in ourselves, can sometimes be tricky, and the language we use has an impact. It can help, or it can make it much harder.
Do you ever find yourself saying ‘I am ..’ ? And in a less than positive way?
I am, stupid, fat, loud, quiet, skinny, lazy, unsporty, dizzy, shy, hopeless, disorganised?
We often do.
And frustratingly our brain can’t readily distinguish fact from fiction. Whatever you tell it. It believes. (If only our brain was more like a panto (oh no you’re not), or a search function (error – entry not found)).
When we use ‘I am..’ we make any change we want to create, in or about ourselves, that much harder. We can also use it as excuse for not changing.
With ‘I am..’ we make it sound permanent, immutable. As if that is who we are, something that cannot be changed. Or not easily. It feels too much.
So how do we make it easier?
One way is to replace ‘I am..’, with ‘I feel…’
‘I feel shy.’
Not only is this more accurate, as it is a feeling that we articulate, when we say ‘I am..’. But it also supports that what we are talking about, of ourselves, is not permanent. It can change or be changed. It can be temporary.
You can take it one step further and say ‘I feel..at the moment, or right now’.
By changing the words to ‘I feel..’ it gives us more energy and motivation to create the change.
Sometimes, saying ‘I feel..’ releases the strength of its hold quite quickly. We let go of an old label, or story, on realising that is what it is.
Other times there is a bit more internal work to get us there. Looking at what is real, realising our blocks, growing our confidence, or skills. Either way we can move onto internal or external actions, or solutions, quicker with ‘I feel..’.
You might also choose to edit your language further, as you start to process the change in steps.
Moving from, ‘I feel hopeless at the moment’ (as your brain will still hear the less helpful word ‘hopeless’), to ‘I want to feel more resilient.’ Or from ‘I feel stupid at the moment’, to ‘I want to feel more confident in this, or ‘How can I learn more about this’.
Does that mean giving up ‘I am..’ language completely?
Not at all, only now you use it to your advantage instead.
Whilst you do the internal work, when you need a boost, or move through a change, you can use it to your benefit. ‘I am confident, I am in control’.
One more tip? Try focusing on saying you want to ‘tweak’ something. It usually is a series of tweaks, and this word alone can help make it feel lighter, easier and more manageable.
Is it time to edit your words, and give yourself an easier way, to create the tweak you want?
Change your words – change your energy – change your approach. What worked for you?