We all recognize that we get results by taking action – no action means no results because one depends on the other. We are also aware that there are a variety of motivators that can prompt us to take action. One of the challenges in personal development is learning to control those motivators so that we can intentionally move ourselves to take action and produce results at will.
Emotions are the most powerful of all the forces that can motivate us to take action in our lives. Developing the ability to use our minds to harness and direct our emotional power is one of the best ways to insure that we consistently produce our intended results.
A very special vocabulary
This is where the power of words can really help. Not just any words, but a special group of words I will refer to as our emotional vocabulary. For the sake of this discussion, let’s imagine that we are going to divide all of the words we know into two different groups. We will call the first and largest group, our functional vocabulary. These are the words we use to communicate thoughts and ideas with no particular emotional value.
The second group, although smaller than the first, is much more powerful. We will call this group our emotional vocabulary. These are the words that we use to communicate our feelings, not just to the outside world but also to ourselves.
Our emotional vocabulary is made up of word labels that we assign to our various feelings. We have word labels for intense feelings, both positive and negative, just as we have word labels for less intense feelings that are either positive or negative.
How is this information useful to us?
Because we use word labels to describe how we feel about the different experiences in our life, changing the label can actually alter the way we interpret the experience. This how we unleash the power of words. For example, if we have a wonderful experience that leaves us feeling absolutely overjoyed, but represent that experience by saying, “that was nice” then we minimize the intensity and the joy associate with that experience.
“Quite simply, what you say is the single biggest factor that determines your happiness.” -Irwin Katsof
This works the other way around as well. If we have an experience that is only “pleasant” but we label it as absolutely wonderful, it will change our feelings about that experience. We will have fortified that experience with a greater degree of positive emotional intensity simply by changing the word label we used to represent it.
Think about the implications here!
By giving conscious attention to the word labels that we habitually use to represent our feelings, we can amplify the intensity of our positive experiences, and we can minimize the intensity and feelings associated with our negative experiences.
Without being aware of it, many people have unintentionally magnified the negative experiences in their life, and at the same time, minimize their positive experiences. Using our emotional vocabulary in this way will have a disastrous effect because it misuses the power of words to help create an ongoing, unpleasant, negative life experience.
Empowering word labels
We all have positive and negative experiences in our life. Our view of those experiences and the impact they have on us will be determined by the way we interpret those experiences.
Here’s the bottom line, we can control the value and intensity of any experience by choosing word labels that represent those experiences in a way that empowers us. This how your emotional vocabulary can help you harness the power of words.
Can you identify the words in your emotional vocabulary?
Do you use those words to empower yourself?
The lines are open!
This is the first of a 2 part series about Your Emotional Vocabulary. In Part 2 you will see how this information can motivate you to take affirmative action.
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