The Power of Words
I don’t want to be anxious. I don’t want to be fat. I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want to wake up every day to the feelings of tight chest, beating heart. I don’t want to go to bed each night with my mind racing, overthinking and driving me to lie awake for hours…
How does the sentence above make you feel? Calm? Relaxed? At peace? No….. I thought not. Words are powerful aren’t they?
Often, these are the words my clients answer one of the questions I ask them. I ask, “If there was a ‘you’ in the future who could wake up and feel different…. a ‘you’ who could be living the life you want to live…….how would they be feeling?”
The Power of Trance
Often, the client is so ‘in’ the trance of their current state that they find it difficult to look, think and feel beyond that. They know that they don’t want to feel that way and yet it’s hard to take the leap to how they do want to feel. So they tell me all the things that they do NOT want.
By repeating the words which describe how they don’t want to feel they embed those feelings even deeper and add to the sense of awfulness.
A New Way of Being
So, I ask again, drawing their attention to the fact that even by just saying the words above, they live them, they feel them. Those words….anxious, fat, afraid, tight, beating, racing, overthinking, awake… How would it feel if they were to begin to imagine a new way of being, of feeling and thinking and therefore begin a new way of life?
Often, when you have been in the trance of Anxiety or Fear or Protection for a long time, it’s difficult to imagine another way of being. It’s like unsticking an old balloon that has collapsed into a state of being totally closed….and beginning to free it so that fresh air can be introduced. Difficult, but not impossible.
“How does that ‘you’ in the future look? How is she feeling? What is she doing? How does her head and heart feel? What can she do that you can’t at the moment? What does she believe about herself? Who is she?”
There is often a period of silence, followed by frown, an uncertainty, a shake of the head, maybe an “I don’t know…”
“If you did know….. if you could be, feel, think in a way that was changed… ?”
The Way Ahead
A nod of the head. A looking up… An imagining… “Lighter… I would be lighter…… happier. There would be sunshine. I can see myself running….and laughing…… I’m with friends…..laughing. I’m free. I’m more confident…calmer…”
And that is the beginning. The power of words has ignited something. The light has been sparked. A light that begins to show the way forward to a place that may not exist yet, but can exist, can be lived and enjoyed. Instead of being trapped in a never-ending loop of protective behaviour, the person has an alternative way of travel. This way forward, a map, combined with the work of therapy to create a safer environment, to address the source of any trauma and reframe that, and practical tools which help calm ….. this is the stuff of change.
It might seem like a simple thing, but the power of words is something which needs to be acknowledged. That subtle change from ‘not anxious’ to ‘lighter, happier, free’ is the difference that makes the difference. Focus changes, feelings begin to change and the way forward is now visible. And that’s what we want.
If you would like to talk about how you’re feeling and how you would like to feel then please get in touch for a complimentary chat: firstname.lastname@example.org 07894564287
There are also other QCH therapists to be found at the QCHPA Therapist Finder
Thank you to Melanie Wasser and Brooke Cagle at UnSplash for the use of their photos.