I Didn’t Mean Any Harm

How often do you give consideration to the words you speak and use?

Have you ever been surprised to learn that you’ve upset someone else’s feelings by saying something which you thought was relatively inoffensive and harmless?

Did you think of it as a bit of a joke, or a throw-away line?

As a hypnotherapist I am always aware of the power and impact that words can have.

As a hypnotherapist, I know that I have to ensure my words match the mind of my client, so that any therapy I deliver has the right effect and helps my client achieve the outcome they desire. If I get any of those words wrong, it can make the difference between success and failure for both my client and me.

So, it’s important that each of us pays attention to what we’re saying and how we’re saying it.

The Curse of Technology

In our world of technology and electronic communication, it’s easy to misconstrue the meaning of another’s words when written in a text, a social media post, or an email. These media don’t allow for any human emotion, and somehow an emoji just doesn’t cut it.

How many friends have fallen out over a misunderstanding about a Facebook post, for example? It sounds silly, but it happens so often and it’s because this kind of communication is cold and unemotional.

We, as humans, are warm-blooded and emotional creatures, and that’s why we can sometimes we injured or offended by someone else’s words.

Don’t Say That In Front of the Children!

As children and until the age of 7 we behave like sponges in our environment.

Everything we see and hear is taken on board and stored away in our subconscious mind. Also as children we are genetically programmed to want to please those around us, so not only do we try hard to do as we’re told, but we also copy those adults around us whom we consider to be the authority on everything we want to learn.

How often have you heard your very young child say something which takes you by surprise? It might be a swear word, or a rude phrase. Your child doesn’t understand the meaning of the words they’re speaking; they’re merely copying you, or another influential adult.

As children we live in our subconscious mind for our first 6 years of life, and have no filter on the things we hear and repeat. That filter comes from the age of 7 when the conscious mind fires up, and we begin to learn in a conscious state and become more aware of ourselves and our surroundings.

So, being mindful of what we say isn’t something we need to exercise just to other adults. It is of the highest importance where children are concerned.

Children who listen to their parents arguing and fighting will store the experience, and in adulthood, and particularly where their own relationships are concerned, will remember this and might translate it as: “People in relationships fight. Therefore, fighting is normal.” Or: “Love equals pain. I don’t want to love.”

From my own personal experience growing up, it was customary in my family to take the mickey out of each other as a way of keeping us grounded, lest we get ideas above ourselves and become big headed. It was our family’s way of protecting us from the pain of failure; it was done with love.

But, long-term what did this teach me? That to want to succeed at anything in life would make me a big head, and no one will take me seriously anyway. It has taken me a long time to overcome this conditioning and remove the mental block.

But, can you see how something which was passed on with much love as family behaviour can have such a negative impact in later life?

What we hand down to the younger generations might come back and bite us later on, so it makes sense for us to take a moment before we speak. We’re good at telling the younger ones to do this, but often forget the same etiquette in our own behaviour.

When someone seeks an opinion about their work, creativity, ideas, etc., rather than leaping in with: “Well, if I were you, I’d….”, try instead “I can see your point. Have you perhaps also considered…..?” Or, rather than, “I wouldn’t have done it that way.”, try: “I like your interpretation. What are your influences? Have you looked at/thought about any others?”

Remembering that, when someone is seeking our opinion, it isn’t our work that we’re looking at; therefore, what we might have done or said or created is really unimportant, and to use that as the basis of our ‘critique’ serves as a baseball bat to the back of the head of the person seeking the opinion.

To encourage that person to consider further options and ideas helps to open their mind to other possibilities, and in doing so serves to increase their creativity and imagination, as well as their self-confidence and self-esteem.

So, to conclude on this blog: while sticks and stones can break bones, words can leave invisible injury and wounds which can take a lifetime to heal. It’s within us all to build each other up – let’s use our words wisely!

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