TODAY -

Whatever you say to others, you are saying to yourself

G. Kanglei *



People tend to talk about what interests them most. If they like sports, they talk about sports; they talk about politics if they like politics; if they're interested in the details of other people's lives, they talk about people.

Regardless of the topic of conversation, however, the statements people make are reflections of what they're telling themselves or things they believe they need to hear. For example, if two people are about to cross narrow ledges on the side of a tall mountain, the one who says, "whatever you do, don't look down," is most assuredly talking to himself.

After studying human language and its origins for years, modern linguists have determined that our verbal expression has evolved from our internal thoughts and inner dialogue. It appears that the original intent of language was more to help us understand ourselves than just to communicate with others.

The words you use, the advice you give, and the topics you select are all messages that are meant for you as well. So if you're healing an illness, your own messages can give you valuable insight into some of your perceptions. Each time a businessman told someone they could succeed in business, he is also telling himself.

So when you listen to what you're saying, you learnt what you want to hear. And while this knowledge may be humbling, it can also be a gateway to a deeper level of understanding and love.

"If nobody ever said anything unless he knew what he was talking about, a ghastly hush would descend upon the earth." Alan Herbert once said. The words you use are clues to your state of mind. When you think a character trait is lacking in someone else, you may fear it's lacking in you. Listen to what you complain about and you'll hear your own justifications and rationalizations. When you hear yourself say "always" or "never", know that it's probably a lie.

When you're making a lot of statements like: "I have to do this", and "I should do this", you are buying into the illusion that other people and circumstances are! control ling your life.

When you hear yourself say things like: "I choose to do this" and "I love to do this", you are hearing the voice of self-fulfilment, which grows out of your inner knowledge that you are in control of your life.

But most people oscillate between following their inner voices of true inspirations and following their outer voices of others' desperation. Acting out of desperation is often caused by thinking something is lacking from your life. If you want to find out what you think you do not have, listen to what you think and say others don't have.

For e.g. if you place a high value on being efficient and you are not as efficient as you want to be, you may hear yourself complain of others' inefficiency. In general, whatever you complain about regarding someone else represents a part of you that you have not seen in balance and learned to love.

If you complain about someone being a "big fat liar", you've no doubt told a few big fat lies of your own, but when you balance your perceptions of the lies you've told and appreciate the benefits of the lessons you've learned, you no longer have such negative feelings about other people's lies.

The more you look at the justifications and rationalizations in your own lies, the more clearly you can see what is stopping you and find your way around it. Two of the easiest keys to recognizing that you are lying are the words "always" and "never".

Whenever you use one or the other word, it is generally part of a lie, and the more strongly you claim that you'll never do something, the sooner you may find yourself doing it. When you offer guidance to someone, listen for the pearl of wisdom you are sharing with yourself.

When you see room for improvement in someone else, you see room for improvement in yourself. The direction you tell others to go may be the direction you most want to go. I once asked a seven-year-old boy named Tomba what he thought "practice what you preach" meant. He said it meant don't tell somebody to do something unless you do it yourself.

As an example, he said, "I should not tell my brother to put his toys away unless I put my own toys away". Tomba certainly grasped the basic aspect of this statement. But what he did not yet understand is that what we preach is what we believe we need to hear. That's why our advice to others is often our advice to ourselves.

It makes sense that our opinions are more useful and valid for us than for others, because they are based on our own unique life experiences.


* G. Kanglei contributes regularly to e-pao.net. The writer can be contacted at g(dot)kanglei(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on August 27, 2010.



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