Drop the Words “Just, But and Maybe” and Speak with Empowered Language
It is often said that the words and phrases you use are an indication of what you believe about yourself. By listening to your language, you can increase your awareness of unconscious patterns of speech that may keep you stuck in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT). The good news is that once you hear your speech patterns that undermine who you are as a Creator, you have the power to choose a more empowering stance in the world.
Speech patterns include the words you use as well as the way you say them. For example, asking several questions in a row and not waiting for others to respond (called “stacking questions”) comes across as frenzied and insecure. Raising the pitch of your voice at the end of a sentence or speeding up your pace, can appear insecure.
We recently attended a workshop and the facilitator repeatedly asked, “Does that make sense?” Over use of this phrase signifies to others that you may be insecure about how you are delivering the information. A more empowering way to ask is, “How did that point land for you?”
Here are examples of disempowering language.
- When you use the word “but” as a transition, you discount the first half of the sentence and likely become a Persecutor to another if you use critical language in the second half of the sentence. If you say, “You did a nice job on that project, but I don’t like the way you (fill in the blank),” the person hears the complaint in the second half of the sentence and not the compliment in the first half. Instead, drop the “but” and make a clear statement. “You did a nice job on that project.” Using the transition “and” is also a good option.
- Repeatedly using “just,” “actually,” and “maybe” are common words that come across as tentative and disempowering. These words soften your request and signal to others that you will settle for less than what you want. Here are a couple of emails with these words: “I am just wondering if you had a chance to follow up on that customer inquiry.” Or, “Actually, I don’t want to bother you, so maybe you could just get back to me when you have a chance.”
- There are several phrases that represent a feeling of being trapped or powerless, aligned with the Victim role. Common phrases are: “I have to….I can’t….or I should.” When you notice you use these phrases, reflect upon the origin of your disempowering feelings. You may not like your choice in the situation, and, you always have a choice! Examples of more empowering phrases are: “I want to…. I will…. or I choose to.”
As “recovering Rescuers,” we are both keenly aware of using these less-than words when we are focused on pleasing each other. An example would be for David to say to Donna: “Actually, I would like to go to the movies, but I’m not sure you really want to. I really am okay with just watching TV tonight.” Can you hear the disempowering energy in those words?
Now listen to how a Creator speaks to what they want:
“Honey, I want to see the new movie (fill in the blank) at 7:30 tonight. I would love it if you go with me.”
That is a powerful and direct request!
By noticing your language, you can develop a deeper awareness of the beliefs behind your words. When you use Creator language, you wake-up and embrace your empowered self.