5 Ways to Honor Your Truth by Shifting How You Speak
Sometimes we have every intention to follow through on our goals (these may be large, like training for your first marathon, or small like committing to going to your hot yoga class after work), and we don’t realize the internal harm we are doing to ourselves and our belief systems when we don’t follow through. We don’t realize how often bum out others or cancel plans, even when we don’t intend to be flakey. We don’t realize how harsh our own self-talk is, or how it makes others feel when we are constantly bashing our own performance or talking poorly about others.
Bring this right back around full circle to mindfulness, a practice everyone seems to be striving to improve these days. Mindfulness expands so much farther starting or improving your meditation practice. It truly can encompass all areas of our life like our eating, our sex life, our communication with others, and yes, even our words.
I’ve noticed several key ways to remind myself to be more mindful with my words and thoughts (because thoughts can be words, even if they aren’t spoken aloud). Honoring who you are, what you want, and what you want to share with others can carry more intention when you are conscious of the meaning behind what we say (or think) and how quickly you can lose that trust and credibility when you don’t follow through with your intentions. Here are a few of my top ideas for creating more mindfulness in your own spoken or unspoken words:
The 5 Things That People I Admire All Do When it Comes to How They Speak
1. Do what you’ll say you’ll do.
Literally, do it. Stop “lying” to yourself. If you say every day that you’ll go to the gym tomorrow, but don’t, you’re essentially lying to yourself, all the time. Before you say to yourself, “I’m going to eat healthy today, practice my yoga routine, skip happy hour, go to bed early, and everything will just be perfect when I’m a wellness warrior and do all the things I want to do-“ Pause. Think both with intention and logically. Maybe you know that doing these things will make you feel great and create space for the mindfulness and healthy body you want, however, you have a lot going on at work, you know that sometimes the day gets away from you and you may not be able to tackle everything on your healthy living to do list every single day. Instead of repeatedly saying you’ll do something, and then not doing it, and then continuing this pattern, consider whether or not you’ll really be able to complete the task you want to check off your list. Is it realistic? Is it something you want to do? Once we create a habit of saying we will do something (or want to make or create) and we don’t do it over and over again, we develop a form of self-trust lack. You may not realize it, but saying one thing and doing another is a messy habit that screws with your subconscious and can also affect others around you. You’ll have better self-trust in many other areas of your life if you think more along the lines of, “I really want to go to yoga after work, but I may have to work a little later than had planned, so if I get out on time, I’ll bring a snack to eat on the way and make sure I commit to going.” Or take it one step further, “I really am not in the mood to go to the gym after work, I’m always too tired and it’s not the right time for my body and schedule to make plans like this,” and then reschedule your workout for before work or on a weekend. Making plans with a friend can help with your commitments too.
2. Re-evaluate how often you use the word should.
If you’re always saying you should be doing something but don’t know why you’re not doing it, re-evaluate that. Why do you feel like you should? Why aren’t you doing it? Do you feel like you should be doing something as a parent that your parent-friends talk about, but it doesn’t flow with your family’s vibe? Do you feel like you should be eating a different way? Working out more? Calling your grandma more often? Using the word should (again, whether out loud or in your head) instills an instant feeling of guilt that comes with the rest of the phrase. This gets layered and layered along with other conscious and subconscious talk and ends up just making you feel crappy about yourself and what you are doing. You might be saying it to make yourself feel better by acknowledging your sub-par performance or to be able to relate to others in conversation (such as, “Yeah, I know, I really should be avoiding eating food like this too, it makes me feel awful.” Instead of saying that you “should” be doing something more often or even at all, take that pause again. Should you be doing that? Or do you really want to? Or do you not even care, and your sister feels that she “should be doing it too” and you just said it anyway? If it’s important to you, then start doing it, and you can take away the guilty “should” words. If it’s not of value to you (like sending holiday cards out every year, the photo, the printing, the addressing the stamping, etc.), then let it go. Even if you don’t decide to share it out loud, remind yourself, “that’s not a priority for me right now,” and release it. It feels so. Much. Better.
3. Stop calling yourself a bad mom, friend, wife, etc.
If you are “failing” at something small (or large) all the time and then verbally beating yourself up about it, you’re not justifying anything by all the negative self-talk, nor are you making the situation better. Either own up to why you’re not fitting something in, or make a change. We have enough coming at us in this world today and enough to worry about. Creating anxieties and false affirmations like, “I’m a horrible wife, I never make dinner anymore,” or “Total mom fail, it’s chicken nuggets again.” Every moment is a choice. You can choose to make dinner, you can choose an alternative to chicken nuggets, or you can own it and think along the lines of, “I worked really hard today, I completed a million things on my to-do list, I’m appreciated in my home for my contributions and because we’re a team, my husband really doesn’t mind picking up dinner on the way home from work. This works for us.” Even if your dinner plans differ from your next door neighbor’s, let it go. Now, if it bothers you, and it doesn’t work for your family or schedule, then it’s time for a change. Communicate if you need support or help from someone else, and if it’s something you need to change, then make that change. Saying you suck at something will get you nowhere real fast. Consciously acknowledging when something needs to change and then actively doing something to achieve that change, that makes a difference. Then you’ll have no need to be so mean to yourself.
4. Lose the “just.”
Before you start a sentence with “I just wanted to…” get rid of the just. Let’s all take a moment to get real John Mayer with it and say what you mean to say. Using “just” makes it sound like you are defending, proving or sharing information that isn’t welcomed. It may sound like you’re simplifying something, however, it’s not necessary if the rest of the sentence is real. This happens a lot when someone’s in sales or trying to push their way into an area they know they shouldn’t be. “I just wanted to call and see if you were interested in blahbiddy blah,” or defending yourself during an unclear communication session (an argument) with your significant other, “I just wanted to do something nice, and it didn’t work.” Now, take out the just. “I was calling because,” “I was trying to do something nice,” “I wanted to remind you of…” Is the statement true? Do you feel confident in what you are sharing, saying, selling, or asking? If you do, then you don’t need the “just.” If not, re-evaluate.
5. Exchange your lame excuses for valued priorities.
Understand that your values and priorities are different than your friends’ and families’ and that is totally fair and valid. (Trust me, this takes work, I get it.) There’s no need to “white” lie your way through obligations and fearing hurting other people’s feelings if you have the right intentions. (They probably hurt yours often and you don’t say anything, am I right?) This isn’t about the golden rule or being kind. You can be kindly honest, respecting both your time and someone else’s simply by sharing that something is not a priority for you right now (when it comes to your time, money, etc.) If you feel like you need to add a little cushion to your conversation, “I know that you were really hoping that I could make it to the party and that you’ve put so much time into it, however, that isn’t going to work for me.” Honoring and validating someone else’s perspective is extremely helpful in communication. When someone pushes, you can remain firm and consistent. Trust yourself and your judgement. It’s ok to say what you really mean, “I have a lot going on and I am going to give myself some downtime,” or “I know how I usually feel by the time Friday nights come around, and it’s really important to me that I spend some time at home.” Stating what is really important or of value to you can help with explaining your boundaries to someone else without putting any blame or fault on the other person. A part of personal growth and expanded consciousness is honoring your truth, what is best for you, and trusting yourself. This takes a lot of practice and sometimes can be disappointing to others. Disappointing is not the same as actively hurting someone. Trust yourself.
By paying more attention to what you are telling yourself or maybe even what you are saying out loud to others and how “truthful” your words really are, you can create more credibility with others and more trust within yourself. You’ll be able to make better decisions for yourself and feel more confident when you know you’re not saying something just to say it.