Your mind has three levels: Conscious, Pre-conscious, and Unconscious. Where do you spend most of your time? Hopefully In the conscious level. Let’s check it out.
When you are taking control of your life and in charge, you are in the Conscious level of your mind. This is the level where high performers spend majority of their time. This is where living happens. This is where growth happens.
At the other extreme is the Unconscious level of your mind. Among other things, that’s where the brain holds the “yuck” of your life. This is where you go into automatic mode, like our reptilian ancestors. This is where zombies and the living dead reside.
As you might anticipate, the Pre-conscious is that level between the Conscious and Unconscious. This is where emotions happen, live, and are processed. This is a potentially unstable level of being. Words that come from this level activate emotion for yourself and the people you are talking to. Having increased awareness of the emotions, you have increased your awareness of your language.
If it stands to reason that when you change the emotion you change the language, then does it also stand to reason that when you change the language you change the emotion? In a word…yes. So, let’s explore this with a few examples.
I’ve written about language several times. Language is important. I remember how I frustrated my college boyfriend with my imprecise language, using “but” when “and” would have been more appropriate. Somehow that part of my education was lacking — or I missed that class. 😉 What I’d missed was that “but” can negate the previous message or tell the listener to ignore the first part of the sentence. If that’s not what you are intending, try using a different word like “for”, “and”, “or”, “yet”, or “so” to ensure clarity. “Just” plays an equally sneaky role in our communications because it minimizes. Stay aware of your intention so you can use the right word. The trick is to be mindful and say what you mean and mean what you say.
Your language also communicates your degree of optimism, pessimism, and cynicism. Does your brain frequently think “bull” at what it’s hearing? That indicates you are a cynic. If that’s not how you want to be, or be perceived, try changing your response. You can change your attitude from pessimistic to optimistic with the change of your language too. I’m a big fan of being optimistic. Your attitude and language help, and of course practicing gratitude sets the stage for optimism.
If your language is that of denial, it might be time to ask what trauma or shattered assumption you are protecting yourself from. It’s interesting for me to observe myself when I am in denial. I keep forgetting to take my tickets with me to the community theater, and the last time we attended a play the desk staff teased me about staying true to form. I denied that was the case — until I realized I had forgotten my tickets more than I’d remembered them. Laughter and mia culpas followed. It intrigues me how much people deny for me that I might have ADD, as if my having ADD might threaten their self-image — leading them to thinking they might also have it. Evidently it’s not a good thing to have ADD.
How does language help you grow? It’s a barometer for what level you are living in. It’s a tool to help you focus your mind to shift to the level you want to live in. Use language that levels you up and up you’ll go.
By being conscious of your words, you are more conscious of your attitudes and actions. You can change habits more readily when you are conscious of the language that helps shape and support your habits. Your language also impacts your resiliency to stress, something we experience as we live life because of the body’s response to unusual demands made on it, be they pleasant or unpleasant, physical, mental, or emotional. You can convert a stressful moment into a short- or long-term event because of your attitude and the language you use around it. Increasing your resiliency is part of growth.
When you hear yourself using negative words and phrases and going into denial mode, you are slipping out of a conscious place. Are you going to slip to the pre-conscious level or all the way to the unconscious level? Think about how you can use your language to stay conscious and in control. Contrast that to going into auto-drive and a reactionary mode, not staying in control or in charge of your faculties. While emotions are an important and necessary aspect of living, you want to be conscious with them.
Language is an important tool in your tool belt of growth. Use your language to up level your high performance living for a smoother path.