‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me.’
This was the childhood chant I’d use to counter to unkind taunts from kids at school. I understand a lot more about language than I did in school and now know why, despite my little chant, the words hurt so badly…
How we ‘make sense’ of words
You use your five senses to ‘make sense’ of what you’re told. You make a representation internally – in your mind – of the word you hear. For example, reading the word ‘dog’, your internal representation might be a picture a dog. You may recall a dog bark, the feel of a dogs coat or the smell of a dog. (Hopefully there’s no taste!) Or all the senses might be engaged to make sense of that one word.
These internal representations can alter your state.
Internal representations occur almost instantaneously and for the most part unconsciously. You might only be aware of how you feel. The way you feel is the result of the internal representations you made in your mind in response to what was said.
Why Words Wound
Click the button and you’ll get some first hand experience of how words impact your body.
Positive words generally cause good internal representations, resulting in positive feeling states.
|Audio about how words make you feel|
Watch what you say!
I’m sure, deep down you understand the effect of harsh words. You are probably careful about what you say to others. But whether you say the words out loud or say them to yourself, they still have an impact. So are you also careful about what you say to yourself?
What type of words do you use when you talk to yourself?
Imagine how you’d feel each night, if you’d used negative language to yourself all day long. Long term negative thinking contributes to depression and ill health. On the other hand, positive conversations contribute to good health and well-being. Monitor your internal language using ‘Steph’s rule’:)
What’s ‘Steph’s rule’?
Only talk yourself the way you’d talk to someone you really care about.
- Words trigger what, in NLP terms are called, Internal Representations.
- Internal representations involve one or more of your senses.
- Internal representations are you way of ‘making sense’ of the word.
- Your internal representations can alter your state.
- Negative words cause negative internal representations and therefore bad feeing states.
- Good words have the opposite effect.
- If you want to feel good, talk to yourself the way you’d talk to someone you really cared about.