Do you ever think about the long-term effect your words will have on someone?
These can work both positively and negatively. Many of us can probably remember a time when someone gave us a complimentary comment which keeps us going at times of doubt. It might have been a chance remark, but one which made all the difference.
On the other hand, there are the comments which can take us down, often without us realising it. I had this insight recently when I was being coached. I was talking about public speaking and as regular readers will know, I have found these events nerve wracking in the past. On the one hand, it is a good thing to feel nervous, as it gets the adrenaline flowing and it also means that you think of the event is important. However it can also be a block.
During the coaching session, I realised that once I started the speaking event or workshop, I quite enjoyed myself. But I didn't want to admit this because I could hear a little voice in my head telling me to "stop showing off". It was a voice from my past, from someone I respected. And it made me believe that I shouldn't show off.
But am I showing off? No, I am using at speaking engagements to give information and insights to more people than I can reach 1-2-1. I am doing them with the aim and wish of enabling people to find their own ways to situations. (And in truth, even if it was showing off, so what?!)
It made me think of a woman teased by her children at times when she made silly little mistakes (as we all do from time to time) who one day said, "If you get told enough times you are stupid, you can't help but believe it".
It made me think of an acquaintance who battled with bulimia because her aunt once said, “Of course, you've always been on the chubby side".
It made me think of a client who has spent her life in administrative work because her father told her, "people like us don't become artists".
As the person on the receiving end of the remark, you might not always realise the long-term impact these comments can have. For me it took about 40 years to make the connection.
It is odd how the human brain can believe the negatives we are told about ourselves, but not often the positives. Your task for today is to take a look at somewhere you are blocked. Could it be because of something negative you were once told? Acknowledge it, throw it away and move on.
And I invite you to remember to think before you speak: your words have power.
If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, check out how we could work together and get in touch.