Words are funny things.
We use them to curse, love, congratulate, shame, teach. We use them to promote, convince, debate, advise, lie. We use them to get things, to give things, to share things, to hide things.
Try as we might, we use them in an attempt to share our thoughts, our feelings, our wisdom, and our experiences with others. And they are far from adequate to do any of these things.
However, as far from satisfactory as they might be, they are the best thing we’ve got and they are quite powerful. The words we choose to use shape our experience of reality.
Many of us know that what we believe creates our reality. Words are how we attempt to communicate that which we believe. Thing is, words can be a result of what we believe or can shape what we believe. The words we choose can actually shift our experience of reality and, therefore, our beliefs. I see it as a two-way street.
The other week I was having an amazing conversation with a dear friend and we were talking about the power of words. It wasn’t the first time I looked at the words I choose to use, which ones to eliminate from my vocabulary, and new ones to integrate.
Over a year ago, I decided that I no longer wanted to use the word “work” and chose to replace it with “create.” Why? Because it felt more expansive. I had a belief about “work” and every time I would use that word I would reinforce my belief and, by extension, shape my reality. When I “worked,” I felt heavy, obligated, and constricted. When I “created,” I felt light, expansive, and energized.
Another word I removed from my vocabulary was “should.” Think about it. The word alone carries so much weight. Since eliminating it, I have felt so much lighter and more empowered. I’m totally serious. The moment I catch myself saying “should,” I immediately replace it with either “choose to” or “desire to.” Either way, it’s far more active and empowering. I don’t have to first shift my beliefs about whatever it is I feel like I “should” do—I just choose a new word to replace it with and immediately shift my experience of whatever that thing is.
It’s a little like the chicken and the egg scenario—does the word create our beliefs, or do our beliefs encourage us to choose certain words? Either way, it doesn’t much matter. Because if we change one we can change our reality. And sometimes it’a a whole lot easier to change our words than it is to change our beliefs.
So, here are a few other words my friend and I decided to eliminate from our vocabularies and a few suggested alternatives.
Need – (Example: I need more money. Alternative: I desire to have more money.)
Have to – (Example: I have to reply to all these emails. Alternative: I choose (or get) to reply to all these emails.)
Try – (Example: I try to be more present. Alternative: I intend (or am practicing) to be more present.)
Hope – (Example: I hope it goes well. Alternative: I trust it will go well.)
Notice the difference? How do those words feel differently in your body? What sorts of beliefs do you have when you say one or the other? What might your experience of life be like if you choose the alternative?
It might not feel natural at first but it’s about making a conscious choice and a commitment to changing our reality one word at a time.
This is by no way an exhaustive list. What words are you willing to eliminate and replace with something that feels lighter, more expansive, and more empowering? Share them in the comments below—I’d love to hear what they are!