The Language of Love
When you use the language of love you say things like I’m amazing, beautiful, powerful, successful, positive and loveable. I can almost see some of you cringing, thinking ‘I could never describe myself in those terms’. Are you more comfortable describing yourself as; stupid, ugly, fat, failure, pathetic or loser? If so stop, you’re thinking about ‘loving yourself’ in the negative, as being boastful, cocky or immodest.
Last week I talked about listening for the lies. The ones that distort the true meaning of loving yourself. Or that tell us we’re not worthy of self-love because of something we did, said or experienced. Have you started to listen and ‘notice’ how often they arise, what they say and how they hinder you? Thoughts translate into how we speak and speech affects our attitudes and behavior. Therefore it’s essential we use the right language when talking about ourselves.
I read a couple of blogs recently on this topic, one was by Philippa Linane ‘Feel the fear and being our Powerful selves’. The other was by Suzanne Whitby, ‘You are more than “just” or “only. So is your business. Or what you do for a living’. Philippa talks specifically about the word power and how women tend to have a problem with using this word, seeing it as having negative connotations. In much the same way as ‘loving yourself’ has a negative interpretation for some people as described in my last blog.
Suzanne’s focus is on the use of the words ‘just’ and ‘only’. How statements like ‘I’m just a life coach’ or ‘only a web designer’ potentially indicate a lack of self-esteem as ‘they are signaling that what you do is not really that important or interesting’. I hear the word ‘just’ used more often in relation to women who say ‘I’m just a mum’…..sound familiar? The outcome however is the same, devaluing what you do and also I believe, who you are.
In ‘Who do you think you are?’ I wrote about the how we consider our names a key part of our identity and how in certain cultures a child’s name is chosen because of what it means, reflecting what parents hope their child will be. In the same way we should use language that describes how we want to be, like a positive self-fulfilling prophecy.
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was’”
Suzanne writes that part of the issue is cultural, which I agree with. So I’m not suggesting you run around like Muhammad Ali telling people you’re beautiful and gorgeous and talented and successful if this makes you feel uncomfortable. However, how about looking in the mirror and speaking the language of love privately. If this is too big a step try writing something positive about yourself (or using an affirmation – you’ll find plenty online) and sticking it up somewhere you can see it – by the mirror is a good place. Finally if you really struggle to say loving words then start by not saying ‘unkind ones’.
Seeing is believing
Alternatively, another useful approach is to find an image that either represents something positive about yourself, or perhaps how you would feel if you loved or even liked yourself more. Stick that somewhere prominent where you’ll see it regularly. Images affect us on an emotional level in a way words can’t, and therefore have a greater influence on our behaviour. They’re also more memorable. So even when you can’t see the image, you can recall it as a reminder to be kind to yourself and change your language when those ‘unloving’ words about yourself surface.
Take these simple first steps and start the journey of loving yourself; perhaps more, perhaps again, perhaps for the first time. Not just for yourself, but for those people you love and care about, because the language of love also extends to others. If you can find positive and loving things to say about yourself you’re more likely to find positive things to say about others. You can read more about this and how ‘Words Can Change Your Brain’ in this short blog post by Therese Borchard.
Part three: Living YOUR life
You may find the following resources helpful
- 1-to-1 Collage consultation
- Book: When I loved myself enough – Kim McKillen
- Book: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway – Susan Jeffers
- Book: Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyer
- Course: 8 week MBSR courses are available nationwide and can be found online