• Sarah Felton

The power of the language we use.

Following on from my recent blog post about there being many different ways we can reach our goals, the last blog post was focused mainly on receiving exam results but it can apply to any goal you might set yourself - I wanted to look at the language we use.

Let's say that I tried really hard in a Maths exam but didn't get the result I wanted. I can tell myself that I didn't work hard enough, that it wasn't meant to be; even or I can be kinder to myself and offer reassurance that I can retake the exam.

Maybe I am running late, however, there is nothing I can do about it if I have left on time but there's been an accident or some other hold up on my journey. It's pointless getting frustrated because there really is nothing that I can do to change the fact that I'm going to be late.

The language we use to talk to ourselves is powerful. In both the above examples whether I blame myself or not the outcome is still the same. If I tell myself it's 'my fault' the outcome is the same as if I say "You terrible person Sarah! Why didn't you leave earlier" or, "you could have got Maths tuition." "It's all your fault.'

Can you see how the journey to success is still the same but if I use negative language I'm making the journey harder?

What could I say instead? How about "You did the best you could with the tools you had available to you. You can try again. You haven't failed." I would even suggest that these experiences make us stronger. If life is nothing but easy how do we appreciate the good times? I would argue we just take these for granted.

You might be thinking "This all sounds great but where do I start?" The first step is to recognize when you are talking to yourself in a negative way. Don't judge the thoughts but acknowledge them. If it helps you could keep a diary of all the negative thoughts so that you can see if there is any pattern to when you are being pessimistic or expecting the worst.

Step two is to find alternative ways of seeing things. Try replacing the words you use so instead of "my work was rubbish" maybe replace that with "There were things there I could have handled differently" Can you see the difference there? The alternative thought is gentler and more accepting.

Try watching out for your negative thoughts. Do they occur around particular situations? Then have a go at thinking of some alternatives.

If you would like to know more about my work or chat further about how I can help you with patterns of behavior that are no longer working for you, then get in touch with me using

Further reading [Accessed 28/08/18] [Accessed 28/08/18]

Further reading [Accessed 28/08/18] [Accessed 28/08/18]

Further reading [Accessed 28/08/18] [Accessed 28/08/18]



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