Our words are more powerful than we might think. Consider a conversation you have had with someone… maybe it’s with your partner, a co-worker, your child, spouse or a friend. In conversation, words and phrases are used, and exchanged such as, “That’s not the right thing to do” or “Are you sure you know what you are doing?”.
Sometimes we don’t notice the power of our words, and the truth is once words are spoken, they can never be taken back. Words have an impact!
WORDS ARE POWERFUL…
The impact of words can be empowering or disempowering, and they can have a lasting impact in a person’s life. Think about some of the conversations you have experienced. What words and phrases linger in the memory vault of your mind?
It is important to be mindful of the words we use and the conversations that we have. As humans, we are more sensitive than we think. We hear words and we interpret them in a certain way, and we don’t always have clarity or understanding on what was said. It is easy to get triggered and get lost in a conversation. Our inner dialogues, thoughts and feelings can make things more complex, and “movies” begin to play in our minds. Past experiences and “stories” can lead us to lose sight of reality.
To illustrate, let me tell you a story…
Sandra and Nichol were best friends for many years. They shared many life experiences, and had many things in common. When circumstances moved them to different cities, they were intentional about their relationship, trusted each other to make this a priority and as a result had a strong friendship over the miles.
At a time when Sandra was facing some difficult challenges, she would often call Nichol on a regular basis for support. What she didn’t know (and what Nichol was not communicating) was that she was dealing with many stressful situations of her own.
On a particular day when Nichol felt stressed and overwhelmed, rather than giving her friend the support that she needed, she blurted out comments that were quite blunt. Sandra felt criticized and hurt. Instead of addressing the comment that was made, Sandra felt threatened and chose to withdraw.
Nothing was said for many weeks and this “bitter root” grew. The ladies talked less frequently, and Sandra concluded that she couldn’t trust her friend anymore. As thoughts and feelings of distrust were provoked, the relationship and conversations between the two ladies grew distant. Sandra was guarded, defensive, and felt she had to protect her heart.
PROTECTING OURSELVES WHEN WE FEEL THREATENED IS A NATURAL RESPONSE.
Dr. Judith E. Glasser’s research, Conversational Intelligence expert, sheds light on this. When we protect ourselves, there is actually something happening in our brain. Protection is an instinctive process.
Since the beginning of time, we were hardwired to react and to protect ourselves when we feel threatened. A part of our brain (the Primitive Brain) when triggered, affects how we respond. There is a decision made within seconds— “Will we choose trust or distrust?” When distrust is activated and when it is in overdrive, our brain freezes and shuts down. Fear is triggered and our natural instinct is to protect and defend ourselves from being hurt. Naturally behaviors show up— we appease, disconnect, and avoid. Stories can play out in our minds, we shut down, and we aren’t open to influence. This is when we lose sight of reality.
THE ONLY WAY TO SHIFT IS TO MOVE FROM DISTRUST TOWARDS TRUST!
Research shows that when trust is activated in a part of our brain known as the Executive Brain, something wonderful happens. Trust acts as a catalyst for higher levels of openness, awareness, and connection, enabling deeper levels of conversation. We naturally share our thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams with each other.
In moments when we feel distrust it is important to recognize what is really going on inside of us. To have a powerful conversation, assume nothing, check things out, be transparent, and speak the truth.
The story continued…
Distrust was running rampant in the ladies relationship and they felt the ill affects. While they could not pinpoint exactly what happened, they decided to evaluate things, hit the pause and rewind button to examine where things went wrong. What they were able to figure out was where the relationship derailed, where a conversation had created a bad experience that tipped their relationship into distrust. Knowing how valuable their relationship was, they became intentional about reestablishing trust. How? By being empathetic to each other, and asking for what they needed. They were able to rebuild their relationship.
TRUST IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL RELATIONSHIPS AND OUR WORDS AND CONVERSATIONS BUILD TRUST!
Perhaps you are experiencing challenges in a relationship. Have there been words expressed that make it difficult to trust?
Be accountable for the words you speak, hold others accountable and engage in powerful conversations.
- Be transparent and speak the truth.
- Listen to connect and to understand.
- Don’t make assumptions and check things out.
- Be intentional in your relationships and build trust.
Our words are powerful and the conversations that we have shape our world and create connection. Being mindful of our words and building trust through conversation is life giving and life changing!
How do the words you speak impact the people in your life?