Words are the building blocks of communication. We use them to convey our thoughts, emotions, and ideas to others. But words are not just tools; they are powerful instruments that profoundly impact our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
There is a Hasidic saying, "Think about good, and it will be good."
Do you believe in the power of your thoughts?
Do you think that if you say, "I am beautiful, I am capable?" you will believe it right now?
In this blog, we will explore the fascinating and intricate relationship between words and thoughts and how the words we choose for ourselves–and our children–can shape our perceptions, beliefs, and behavior.
Can Words Impact Our Thoughts?
The idea that words can influence our thoughts is not a new one. Linguists and psychologists have long been intrigued by the idea that language can shape our thinking. This hypothesis, also known as the Spair-Whorf hypothesis, proposes that language can influence and limit the thoughts and concepts that its speakers are capable of forming.
For example, consider how different languages categorize colors. Some languages have distinct words for colors that English would lump into broader categories. This can affect how individuals perceive and remember colors, highlighting that the words we have for something can influence our thought processes.
Another example in English is that there is only one term for snow, but by linking the word snow with other words, we’re able to discriminate between different states of snow (i.e. powder snow or sticky snow).
What Happens When You Think Positively?
As you think about how you parent your child, know that you can verbalize positive words to your child to build them up to feel positive about themselves. The world can be cruel, and other people can do or say things that have the potential to affect how someone feels about themselves.
When you think positively or speak positively, it doesn’t attract good things automatically but instead works because you notice good things more often. The same is true for your child.
For example, if you think about how you love natural sunlight, you’ll notice the times there is natural sunlight. But if you think about how your house is so dark and lacks enough windows, you will notice more of that.
In the same line of thought, if you think about how capable and intelligent you are AND actually feel it inside, you’ll attract more of that. It will only help if you feel smart inside; simply saying it to yourself without feeling it wouldn't be strong enough for you to take note of your smartness. But if you feel smart, even sometimes during the day, you are more likely to realize, "Oh, I said something smart, or people found that idea useful."
While it is important to think and say positive words to benefit yourself, your child, and the people around you, it is even more important how those positive words make you feel internally and affect what you attract.
The Power of Self-Talk
One of the most impactful ways words affect our thoughts is through self-talk. How we speak to ourselves internally has the ability to either empower or limit us–and the same goes for our children. Positive self-talk, where we use encouraging and optimistic words, can boost our self-esteem and motivation. On the contrary, negative self-talk can lead to self-doubt and pessimism. The words we use to talk to ourselves and our children can shape our self-image and influence our actions.
If you can help yourself to feel positive about yourself and your situation, you will see the world and yourself in a positive light more often. This redirection of self-image takes practice. You could begin with just a few seconds at a time of practice until you find the times when you are what you want to be or have what you want to have.
5 Ways to Positively Impact Your Thoughts
Follow these simple yet effective strategies to positively impact your thoughts daily. You can also encourage your child to practice many of these as well.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Starting or ending your day by writing down what you are grateful for–even if it is only one or two things–can shift your mindset to focus on the positive.
- Volunteer in the community. Shifting the focus off of yourself is one of the best ways to shift your thoughts in a positive direction. Sign up for a community volunteer opportunity and bring your child along with you.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Have you heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy”? Comparing yourself to others runs the risk of unrealistic expectations and, as a result, unhappiness. The same is true for comparing your kids to other kids. Turn your focus to what you can do well–or what your child excels at–and talk and think about that rather than what others are doing.
- Practice positive affirmations. If you think positively and your mind intends for positivity, that is what you will bring into your life–and positive affirmations practice just that. Think about anything that you feel positive about. If there’s a topic that you feel sour about, don’t think about it, think about the topics that bring you joy as often as you can.
- Exercise. Whether it’s just outside playtime for your kids or a walk around the neighborhood as an adult, moving your body (especially outdoors!) is incredibly beneficial for achieving a positive state of mind.
Using Words to Empower Our Children
While we impact our children positively or negatively in many ways, words are one of the most powerful. The relationship between words and thoughts is a complex and multifaceted one. Words can shape our perceptions, emotions, and actions, both individually and collectively. Recognizing the power of words in your own life and that of your child is essential for effective communication, self-awareness, and understanding the impact of language on our lives. We can harness this power to promote positive thinking, empathy, and social change by choosing our words carefully and mindfully.
In a world where words are integral to our daily lives, understanding their impact is key to personal growth and fostering a more inclusive and compassionate society.
Every life and every child is precious and special and has unique needs. If your child needs extra care from specialists and other care providers, this can affect yours and your child’s mental health.
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