It has been suggested that women speak, on average, 13,000 more words per day than men. We definitely like to talk and we understand the power of words.
We know words can hurt or they can heal. They can restrict us or set us free. The unmistakable power of words is in their ability to transform us. But what happens when those words do us more harm than good.
I talk a lot about women standing fully in our power, of not allowing others to control how we choose to show up in the world.
But there are three ways we may be robbing our own selves of our power without even realizing it (I’m including myself here because I need to watch out for these too).
The words we swallow
These are the words we never share, the truths we never speak because we are afraid of how someone else may respond.
We feel the nudge inside us telling us we should speak up. But we’re afraid of being labeled as too much, or the loud one, or the bitch so we swallow our words. We silence ourselves to ease someone else’s discomfort.
Fear of another person’s judgment supersedes our instinct to know what’s right for us, causing us to lose touch with our inner wisdom and we stop trusting ourselves.
We begin to believe that other people know better than we do and we start looking outside ourselves for the answers that are already in us.
The words we speak
In her book, Playing Big, author Tara Mohr points out the many ways women are prone to diminishing themselves through the words they use. She notes the frequency with which women use words such as “just”, “actually”, “sorry, but…”, and then there is my favorite “does that make sense” (I’m guilty of using this one far too much).
The subconscious quest of women to be liked above all else causes us to use words that will lessen the impact of what we have to say. On the surface, these words don’t seem so bad but the truth is when we use these words, we inadvertently diminish our power.
We communicate a lack of confidence and sometimes a lack of credibility, resulting in a lack of respect from others. All of which are the opposite of what we want.
A lot of us women are prone to saying things about ourselves we would never say about anyone else. In fact, if someone said those same things about our best friend we would be more than willing to fight them over it.
Yet we are unable to extend the same level of kindness to ourselves. We make the mistake of believing that the words we whisper to ourselves in the dark don’t matter.
We believe since it’s “only to ourselves” then we aren’t hurting anybody. But the fact is with every unkind word spoken we are harming ourselves.
This is the kind of harm that leads to us shutting down, retreating and never fully showing up. It’s the kind of harm that causes regret later in life because we never really lived the glorious life we were given.
The words we censor
It is well documented that success and likeability are inversely correlated for women. A woman can either be liked OR she can be successful but she cannot be both.
Most women didn’t need a researcher to tell us that, we know it instinctively. We are socially conditioned to smile, be polite and never say anything that can be perceived as mean or aggressive.
This need to be liked is ingrained in us from childhood. As a result, we often censor our words to make sure we come across likeable and non-threatening.
The problem is when we spin our words trying to make them appear a certain way or force them to convey something that is not completely true we lose integrity with ourselves. This loss of integrity robs us of our power and gives that power to those faceless others who may or may not like us.
Every word spoken and every word not spoken plants a seed in our heart that will either produce something life-giving or something life-crushing. Let’s commit today to using the power of our words to produce life.
Here’s to you and I rising into our greatness.
From my heart to yours,
If you sense that you have fallen into one or more of the patterns discussed here and you’re ready to reclaim the power you’ve been giving away let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary call with me where we can discover what it could look like to use your words to empower you to do the things you want to do.