This article really speaks to me. I'm not sure what really went on in my mother's life as she rarely discussed anything of a personal nature. 98% of the words I heard were negative, many very demeaning. This resulted in my having absolutely no self-esteem which led to co-dependency and some really sad decisions about my life choices. It took a lot of therapy and hard work to change those tapes in my head. Sometimes they try to play again but I'm so much better about canceling them. :-) It is so important to speak positives to children especially. Other members of our families and our friends deserve the same respect. My hope is that you might find this gentle reminder helpful.
Our Evolving Language
Healing Past Hurt
Choose to be more conscious of the words and phrases you use in everyday life as words have power.
There are many troubling phrases in our language that we use without considering their full meaning simply because they have been accepted into common knowledge. Even as our ideals progress, our language maintains some phrases from our past that no longer serve us, for example: Boys don’t cry; good child; boys will be boys; problem child; illegitimate child; and many more. While these phrases may be used without harmful intent, they are inherently negative. Children can be especially sensitive to such phrases, which may stay with them their whole lives, adversely affecting their self-image and wounding their self-esteem. We can create positive change by choosing not to use these words and phrases as we come across them in our vocabulary.
It is challenging to examine our habits in terms of the words we use to express ourselves, but it is also exciting. Language is an area where we can exercise our free will, creating positive change in the world around us by simply choosing carefully the words we use. It may seem like a small thing, but our words have a rippling effect, like a stone thrown in a pond. People naturally pick up on the way other people speak, consciously or unconsciously changing the way they speak in response. We don’t need to actively try to influence people; it happens without our even thinking about it. All we have to do is choose to be more conscious ourselves, putting to rest words and phrases that are outmoded, insensitive, or harmful. We can also exercise our creativity by creating new phrases that carry positive and loving energy to replace the old ones.
You may already have some ideas about phrases you’d like to transition out of your language, and now that you’re thinking about it you may come across many more. As you consciously decide not to use these phrases, you may feel lighter and more joyful, knowing that you have chosen to drop baggage that was handed down to you from a less conscious time. As you do so, you elevate the language for future generations who would no doubt thank you if they could.