It may sound absurd, but if we want to be happy we must eliminate a few words from the list of words we use every day.
As unbelievable as it sounds, the words we use determine how we view life and therefore shape it in terms of what comes or doesn’t come our way. And we all want good things to come our way.
Does this sound preposterous to you? Well, just keep on reading!
Let’s start with the adjective “logical”, which in some cases can be substituted by “obvious”.
Unless we are talking about natural phenomena or the principles of physics, such as gravity, we should avoid using either of these words.
Logical comes from logic, which is defined, among other definitions, as “inexorable truth”.
Inexorable? Truth? Neither of these terms are open and free, which is what your life should be.
Logic is, by definition, connected to the concept of reasoning. Can you really say that everything you do in your everyday life is connected to reasoning and the mind? Can you really say that your feelings, your emotions of anger, love, affection, resentment all “make sense” and follow a strict mathematical rule that makes them explainable, sensible, justified and…logical?
When you use the word “obvious”, you are judging. And when you judge, you put yourself in a superior position. By saying it’s “obvious” you are implying that you know the truth and that there is only one way of doing things, obviously…your way.
Consider the following statement, that I have heard so many times:
“If you are a working mom, it’s obvious that your children are going to be/feel neglected”.
In other words, you are affirming that a working mom will never be a good mom.
Are you sure? What defines a good mom? Moms are all over the world, as are good kids. Are all good kids the kids of stay-at-home moms? I don’t think so.
Children are raised in Norway, Mexico, Japan, with very different, even opposite, parenting styles. And yet all of these countries have loving families and loved children. Does the word “obvious” still seem like a good word choice to you?
Try to substitute these judgmental words with “In my experience” (but you’ll need to back it up…be careful!), “might”, “as far as I know”.
Look at this:
“Working moms obviously make their children feel neglected”.
“Working moms might make their children feel neglected”.
Sentence 2 is open for completion and specific examples: “…when there is a school play and they can’t go/during the weekend if they have to work”. But it’s not an “inexorable truth”, it’s a contextualized evaluation. Using might opens up your statement to the opinion of others and stimulates conversation instead of closing it with a slamming door.
The benefit of eliminating obvious and substituting it with more “open” words is twofold:
- It allows you to widen your perspective and consider other options. Try it. You will feel a physical well-being when using possibility words instead of closure words.
- You will improve the quality of your relationships, because by being more open to discussion and less aggressive, not only will people listen to you more attentively but this will allow you to better understand who is around you.
Can you think of other possibility vs. closure words?