I love words. I am attracted to other people who love words. I think that a world without words would be a sad, boring world indeed. Not everyone shares my passion. Some people communicate with physical acts, gestures and other body language signals so that we feel connected to them and understand who they are. But is so much easier to truly express a feeling by finding, just the right word.
When we work with people, or support others going through challenging, exciting or difficult times, helping them express a feeling can be a really great thing to do. Many times, I have been in the company of someone who really wants change, but they are not sure what that change is. They may have an idea of wanting to do something in a different way, but unless they can tap into why they want that change in behaviour, they rarely get excited and it is often associated with a “should”. They may say, “I should get up early in the morning and walk before work”. Always accompanied by a slouching of shoulders and downward express of the mouth – or a frown. If they change it to “I want to get up early in the morning and walk…” this is accompanied by a somewhat different body language. You’ll see shoulders lift and facial expression much more neutral – perhaps even determined. But if they can actually voice why they want to get up early in the morning and walk. Ah, then we see a difference. “I want to get up early in the morning and walk.. so that.. ” and this is followed by what’s really behind it. It could be, “so that.. I can lose weight”.. hmm maybe a positive thought. But we find that sentences like, “so that… I can start my day with a sense of purpose and achievement and feel more in control of my life”. Now we’re talking about some very different body language!
Words do create our world. Saying something and not meaning it doesn’t count. But finding the right word to describe our reason for doing something is a very different story and it can turn the idea of something from being onerous to being a means to an end with the end being the shining light that pushes us to action and changes our view of the issue.
As friends, colleagues, coaches, we can help the people around us by using words as a way of creating a picture that can inspire, reflect true feelings and deepen our friendship if we truly listen to what is behind the dialogue.