Words, our natural means of expression, have enormous potential … positive or negative. The power of words has been known since the dawn of time, when magic formulas and curses were on the agenda for making spells or dissolving them. And even if in the age of reason and technology we don’t believe in magic very much, it is still possible to recognize that the words we use have important consequences, given that there is a close relationship between thought, word and action.
Even if words do not leave physical injuries, if we abuse them they are capable of producing serious emotional damage, so profound that psychology considers verbal abuse as dangerous as any other form of abuse, such as physical or sexual abuse. For this reason, before saying words, when these are still only thoughts, it is good to understand that we still have time to prevent that criticism, judgment or negativity from coming out of us, turning into a poisonous arrow.
At that critical moment, it is good to breathe deeply to send a message of calm to the brain, and ask yourself if what we were about to say will be edifying for ourselves and for others: it is a positive contribution or, on the contrary, it will damage people and relationships?
Let’s learn to speak
Yes, in theory we have learned to do it for a long time, right? But it’s not just about knowing how to speak, but knowing how to do it with emotional intelligence. There are people who, whatever they say, cannot help but include swear words, curses, insults, which, scattered left and right, devalue themselves or others. In theory, there is no doubt: they too can speak. However, are they using the word resource wisely?
On the other hand, it is true that language first of all fulfills a vital communicative function, so it is not healthy to repress what we think or feel. Which, as imperfect beings as we are, is not always beautiful or rosy. In these moments of negativity, anger or pain we have every right to express ourselves, but others also have the right to be treated with respect.
To do this, the secret is assertiveness, that wonderful balance that is obtained when we communicate sincerely what we think and feel, in a constructive way. There are some resources we can employ to be assertive:
- The messages “I”: their name derives from the fact that the fulcrum of these messages is the way in which a person feels towards someone else’s behavior, without judging, accusing or labeling him.
For example, if the children don’t tidy the room, instead of saying “How is it possible that the room is in this state? You are really messy! “, Using an” I “message you could say:” I feel frustrated when you don’t tidy up the room because I have many other things to do, and I would like you to collaborate with me “.
In both cases you are expressing how you feel, but in the first the negativity is discharged on the other; in the second case, however, the center is what you feel, and does not affect the person’s conduct.
The “time out”: sometimes withdrawing in time from a potentially conflicting situation can prevent us from saying words that we will regret later.
If our goal is to be enslaved, the idea is to take advantage of the “time out” to resume the conversation when the waters have calmed down, so that the words come out in a controlled way, instead of risking forming a river in flood .
We have in our hands (or better, in our lips) the possibility of creating an atmosphere of harmony around us, through our powerful words. Which, after all, perhaps contain more magic than we think.