Language is powerful and how we speak tells others how we view ourselves and how we view the world. Words matter and how we choose to communicate, whether consciously or unconsciously, reveals our mindset.
Communication is fundamental to how we show up in the world. Whether it’s with fellow humans, animals, or nature, the way we communicate shows who we are and how our experiences have shaped us.
Our communication style tells others about how we view ourselves and how we are telling others to view us. How we communicate exposes subtle beliefs such as how confident we are, how much we are seeking approval, or how we want to be treated.
The following five communication behaviors are subtle tells that show we might have been conditioned to show up as smaller than we are or less than in spaces. I share this as an opportunity for self-awareness, for reflection, and empowerment. We must become self-aware and intentional before we invite and practice change as a habit into our lives.
- I’m trying. Saying I’m trying is limiting. My husband says, “trying is dying”. Do the dang thing! Give “I’m doing” or “I’m pursuing” or “I am attempting” instead. This is proactive language.
- I should. Carrie Bradshaw famously said, “stop shoulding on ourselves” when referring to women and how we take on what others think we should be doing with our lives. Examine what you think you “should” be doing. Is this task or activity based on an old version of yourself? A stale mindset or a limiting belief? Is it serving who you are in the present or is it something that needs to be released or edited?
- Just. Saying “just” makes us seem smaller, meek, and less than. “I’m just a student”, “I’m just a mom”. AHHH! Everyone is naked when we take our clothes off. We are who we are and no one has more authority to up space over than another person.
- Apologizing when being assertive “I know your busy….”. We wouldn’t be contacting this person unless we needed to and by starting with apologizing to them when we haven’t done anything wrong doesn’t make any sense and takes more time instead of getting to the point. Use the platforms we need to use and say the messages we need to say. No unnecessary apologizing!
- Unnecessarily softening your language “this is a gentle reminder that ….”- cue an instant eye roll! The bottom line, people generally crave structure and an assertive leader. I have never felt a “gentle reminder” is a “gentle reminder”. It’s an “I’m trying to come off nice but I really just want you to do x, y, z!”. It is unnecessary and patronizing and needs to go.
Change is not easy, but change is necessary to grow. Growing pains is a saying for a reason. Growing can be spiritually, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally painful. It can feel painful to be what feels like very assertive at first, it does get easier. Whatever the end goal is, becoming more intentially about our communication can be beneficial.
I’d love to hear your feedback and welcome any and all discussion. Cheers!