I was asked recently, “If I could choose ONE learning from my years of pursuing my passion of conscious and quality communication skills, what would it be?”
WOW, what a question, hundreds of ideas whirled around my head. As with all passions, I hope to continue to add to my insights and skills for years to come, yet at this moment the answer came last night in a conversation… go figure…
The words we choose to use DO have meaning. Words (and the beliefs and thoughts behind the words) have power. Words have the power to produce an outcome.
Last night, I was speaking with a therapist discussing a therapy process. (I am not a counselor or therapist, I’m a behavioral communications specialist.)
Therapist: “I do that to them all the time.” I had a moment where I stopped breathing. I was shocked.
I replied: “Do you really ‘do that to them?'”
Therapist: “Of course, what do you mean?”
My reply: ‘”I do that to them all the time’ implies you are doing something to them, as in imposing something on them.” (Now, this was someone I had permission to be direct with…I may have rephrased my reply if the permission level had been less.)
The therapist’s initial words create a place of power, not influence. It is a direct statement of this person’s beliefs that they have the power to change someone. The following phrases state the same fact about the therapy process:
- “We work with that therapy (or process”)
- “I help them through the issue with (name of therapy)”
- “I do that WITH them” (Note, it is not done “to them.”)
All statements of influence not power.
Please, do not usurp someone’s power with your words. Do “things” with someone, not to someone. Honoring a person’s need to feel in control of their lives is vitally important to providing the support they need to solve their problems. The old proverb of “Teach someone to fish instead of giving them a fish…” still holds true.
Have a great day in whatever your adventure.
To Success! To Life!
p.s. Sometime, just for fun, try to identify each time someone says something that is from the position of power or from the position of influence.