Changing Language Can Change Your Life
by Tracey Lipsig Kite
Do you ever have those days when life is just overwhelming? When the meal preparation and clean-up, and the laundry, and the homework all need to get done, and your boss, and your kids, and your sister all need your time and attention? When you are sure there will never be enough of you to go around?
When I have those days, I used to say to myself “I hate my life.” And when I thought “I hate my life,” everything would feel dark and heavy and endless. That heavy dark feeling led to my yelling at my kids, eating food that isn’t good for me and putting off doing the basic things that are needed to keep our lives going.
I have learned that by changing what I say to myself in those situations, I avoid the dark, heavy, endless place and instead find a shaft of light that shows me how to move towards something better. Even better, neuroscience shows that our brains can change the way we feel if we give them the right language.
Instead of “I hate my life,” I instead think “wow, life feels really overwhelming today,” or “I hate feeling this tired.” Changing my self-talk shifts my perception of what is happening.
The more compassionate messages remind me that:
- I won’t always feel this way
- There are things I can do to make the situation a little bit better
- I don’t always feel this way
Psychology teaches that this is the difference between pessimistic and optimistic thinking. Shifting the way I talk to myself changes my brain and helps shift how I think about myself, events in my life and my feelings. It gets me out of the downward spiral of negativity and onto a more upward spiral.
Imagine if your fourth grade daughter could shift from “I hate fractions and I’ll never be any good at math, I’m so stupid,” to “Fractions are hard for me; I guess it will take more work for me to understand them.” Imagine if you could shift from “no one in this house does anything except me,” to “keeping the house clean is really hard; we need to figure out another way to get things done.”
Making significant changes requires effort. The reward is a more positive and hopeful experience of our lives. When they leave the workshop, the girl and adults become each other’s coaches and cheerleaders, using a new roadmap work on changing words and improving lives.
Join us – we promise it will be fun! Register for Change your Words to Change Your Life: An Adventure for Girls and their Grown-ups.