The power of words, after a medical diagnosis, should not be underestimated. They can provide you and I with the ability to change our outlook about life, the disease, and our potential outcome.
Some words are more powerful than others by their very nature. Words like:
- I am proud of you,
- You’re smart.
- I appreciate you.
- We care.
Some words seek to destroy:
- I hate you.
- You’re stupid.
- I’m not good enough.
Some words were fairly neutral words to me, until life experiences changed my relationship to those words. My relationship with the the following words has changed:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Car accident
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Feeding tube
- Lyme disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Traumatic brain injury
- Blood Sugar
- Kidney disease.
Not too long ago most of these words were simply words or phrases that didn’t have a personal and emotional connection to me. But now these words connect with me on emotional level that wasn’t there before. My life experiences changed my connection, giving those words more power than they did before.
The Feelings We Attach to Words Determine How Much Power They Have
The feelings I attach to those words determine exactly how much power they have over me. And I get to choose how much power those words have over me. After all, nothing determines how one feels about their life experience as much as the personal meaning we attach words and the power we give them.
You see, I can choose IF they have a power over me. But more importantly I have the right to choose what type of power they have.
By definition, power is the capacity or ability to direct or influence a behavior or course of events. So these words (that describe an experience) I determine the capacity those words have to influence my behavior. I determine my ability to direct a course of events.
I can choose to feel defeated, I can choose feelings of hopelessness. Or I can choose to see these as opportunities.
Opportunity, not a battle
I choose to not see the things we are facing as a “battle”. Fighting a battle sound exhausting to me. Instead I see it as an opportunity. Opportunity sounds exciting. An opportunity to help influence and inspire others. An opportunity to connect on a higher level. An opportunity to learn. An opportunity to grow.
Victor, not victim.
I don’t choose to label myself as a victim, because then I would begin to view these experiences through the lens of victimhood. Instead, I choose to view these events our family is currently facing as opportunities. Opportunities to learn a new lesson, opportunities to appreciate things we perhaps once took for granted, opportunities to make a bigger impact, opportunities to choose our response, opportunities to connect with others and make a difference, and opportunities to simplify.
Resilient, not breakable.
Yes, the weight of our current burdens is heavy. I could choose to see that as a great threat that has the potential to break me. Or I can buy into the fact that we are resilient. I choose to believe I am able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. I believe that my family has the skills to spring back into shape after our life has bent into many different directions and stretched us greater that the capacity we believed we had.
Supported, not unsupported.
I choose to rally support for my family rather than feeling unsupported. I choose to take actions that assist others in supporting me. I choose to not remain silent when I need help, but choose to request help in a way that does not sound like whining. That right there is a HUGE step for me because I tend to be the type that suffers in silence and tries to do everything myself. I have learned that actually puts me in a victim state and that makes me feel less powerful than communicating that I need help does.
Our word choice shapes our reality. The labels we attach to our life experiences, shape our reality.
- What labels are you attaching to your life experiences?
- What words are you choosing to use?
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About the Author
Leisa Watkins is the founder of Cultivating Health, Happiness and Joy. She believes life is meant to be enjoyed and experienced in abundance. She is on a mission to help people break through barriers and avoid roadblocks in life while creating a life they love. She also shares tips on getting more out of life, despite it's challenges on our Instagram channel. Please follow us.