“Once you have learned to love, you will have learned to live.” ~Unknown
Truer words have never been spoken then the above quote. The catch is learning to love. How do we do that? We must first begin with learning to love ourselves. If we don’t, any notion of love we believe we feel for another is in actuality ‘people pleasing,’ to fill an inner void in ourselves. That void is a lack of self-acceptance and self-love we are unable to give ourselves for whatever reason. Everyone’s path is different for gaining mature, health, and responsible self-love. One thing I do know however, is the words we use in our self talk as well as our talk with others, are a huge part of getting there. We have to learn and adopt a language of love to learn to love.
Words create worlds in the sense of shaping our perception of ourselves and our reality. As it is for every human being, our perception is reality. Every word we use not only has literal meaning, but figurative and symbolic meanings imprinted into our brains, referred to as mental maps. To illustrate, thing of the word ‘coffee’. Instantly an image pops into you mind of …. ? It might be a cup of your favorite morning coffee, the aroma, the steam rising from it, the warmth of the cup, the taste – either bold like Starbucks or lighter like Tim Horton’s depending on your personal preference. Then there are a whole host of emotions that arise with the word coffee….morning, enjoyable coffee dates with friends, driving to work or somewhere, and so on. its fascinating how one simple word like ‘coffee,’ stimulates such a vast array of images, senses and emotions. This is your mental map of coffee, where simply mentioning the word recreates an entire world of coffee experiences.
This same process exists for almost everything we’ve experience in life. While there may be similarities in our experiences of something, a level of shared understanding, each person’s is unique in how they experience. We can imagine and relate to how someone else feels and experiences similar things, but we can never know exactly because we aren’t them. We are individuals and most don’t read minds or are true empaths who are able to feel exactly what another is feeling.
That said, there are words that do have a similar effect on most people based on common beliefs held as truth that many of us share. Like the Ashley Hook, the author of Start Believing in Yourself, I’ve found a strong correlation between the words I choose to “use as a part of my regular vocabulary and the way that I feel.” Furthermore, I’ve found this correlation with my thoughts and self-talk as well as when talking with others, causing me to choose words uplifting in energy, intrinsically true and aligned with my highest self.
As Ashely Hook states very well, I’ve learned first hand that “Adopting a language of love is not about positive affirmations…trying to convince yourself that you feel something else other than what you feel, or that a situation is something other than what it is.” Ashley Hook’s list of “no-no’s” for adopting loving language really hit home for me as I am in the process of eliminating these toxic words, along with a couple of others of my own like the word “should”, from my vocabulary. As I do, all I can say is “WoW” what at difference it makes to how I feel.
- Stop saying, “I can’t.” You can; you just haven’t done it yet or you haven’t tried.
- Stop saying, “Always.” Actually, just stop generalizing. Nothing is black and white.
- Stop saying, “They did, he did, she did…” It’s a subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) form of blame. Observe your current situation and ask, “What can I do now? How can I make this better?”
- Stop saying, “I wish this or that.” Instead say, “I want this and these are the steps I am going to take to get me there.”
- Really stop saying “I am not good enough. I am fat. I am ugly. I’ve made too many poor choices. I’ve tried before and it didn’t work out.”
For more valuable information and tips for adopting loving language, I strongly recommend you read the full version of Ashely Hook’s blog post Start Believing in Yourself: How To Adopt A Language of Love. And as she stated “Lets adjust our thinking and speaking…” to reflect and manifest our highest best self and “May love become our new modus operandi.”
Just sayin’ 🙂 ❤