The power that words have cannot be denied or dismissed. And there are many points and areas to look at when it comes to words. However, the primary focus of this article is going to be the role that the ego mind plays.
Words have certain meanings in the dictionary and socially for example; and they can also have a meaning that is subjective to the person that is using them.
One can have certain words, sayings and phrases that they use. These can be either empowering or disempowering and made up of generalities that are beneficial to ones growth or have the opposite affect and lead to one feeling trapped.
At a personal level, we all have our own language that is used inside our own head and that we use when we talk to other people. To the outsider these can be the same words that numerous other people use, but when it comes to what they mean to this person, they could be very different.
Because although words can have general meanings that are associated to them, through one’s own personal experiences in life, there can also be different associations that have been added over time. They may have removed the old associations. So that now a word means something completely different to what it generally means to most people.
An example of this can be found in the area of giving compliments. Here, one can say to another person that they look good or that they are intelligent. These words could be described as positive and are intended to make the recipient feel good.
And yet, based on the associations that one has of these words, they could feel humiliated and made fun of. The receiver will then appear to be offended and the person who gave the compliments is then likely to feel confused.
Language Of Choice
The words, phrases and generalities that one has will play a massive role in how they see life. These will often be the result of habit and used without much thought. It may be said that one is using these as they appropriately mirror what is going on. And from one point of view this may be so.
However, to look at it another way, the words that one is using is actually shaping their experience of what is happening. The ego mind will interpret a situation to mean something and this meaning is likely to be absolute. No alternatives or opposing views will be considered by the mind.
Due to the ego mind working in polarities and seeing only black or white, it can lead to the mind interpreting situations to be all or nothing and as everyone either being one way or another way.
This can have a big impact on relationships. So here, all men or all women could be seen as being a certain way. That all men cheat or all women cannot be trusted for instance. Or that people who are successful or wealthy have got there only through manipulating others.
Another area could be how competent one is at something. These descriptions can consist of; I always get things wrong, I’m not good enough or other people are better than me
And while the ego mind can make these generalisations; they are unlikely to make one feel empowered. They are also highly unlikely to be accurate.
Once one has come to use these words on a regular basis and therefore uses them to define what an experience often means; there is unlikely to be any alternatives.
The ego mind will then perceive these experiences to mean one thing and will filter out anything that could go against these interpretations. And it won’t matter if they are making one feel empowered or not. To the mind, these words have become familiar and that’s all that matters.
It could be said that the mind, through its familiarity to these word, is actively looking to interpret situations through words that will mirror the perspectives that it already has.
What is familiar to the ego mind is what is equated as being safe. So although these words may not lead to growth or personal wellbeing, the ego mind feels comfortable with the meaning that they have. If one was to use a different phrase or word to describe something, it would be unfamiliar and there for unsafe. Here the ego mind also gets to be right; for to be wrong would mean death to the mind.
And as the words that we use are generally automatic and are therefore not consciously chosen; it can mean that one is not even aware of how their words are shaping their experience of life.
It can then seem that the meaning of an experience is then set in stone and unable to be changed. And if certain experiences or situations have been interpreted to mean one thing then it is inevitable that one is going to feel that they have very little influence over their life.
By changing the words that one uses, there will be the chance for change to take place. Instead of seeing things in the same way: a more empowering or neutral view point can be attained. And here, one’s life can begin to open up to new possibilities.
Through a change of focus and meaning; what one experiences can also change.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.