I can relate on a personal level. I've been through some highly challenging times—some of which led me to research everything there was to know about the psychology of resilience. I found it so powerful that I shared what I learned and how it benefited me in The Bounce Back Book. What was one of the easiest, yet most powerful, strategies for bouncing back buoyantly from adversity? Remembering the mantra, "I must watch the words I use—because they create the world I see!"
I learned the importance of surrounding myself with people who I knew would verbally reinforce my identity as a strong person. I knew on an intuitive level that positive words of encouraging faith from others would help to reinspire my own inner strength, but I didn't know that studies support this positive ripple affect on one's psyche.
Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is a therapy that attempts to influence the subconscious mind and affect positive change by consciously using positive words to refocus on the things within one's control. For example, Cyrulnik warns that after a trauma, you need to make sure you don't talk with people who accidentally keep you in the victim mode by using depression-inducing language such as:
- You must be suffering so greatly right now!
- How very hurt and in pain you must be!
- I bet you're exhausted and depressed after all you've been through!
Knowing the subliminal power of words, Morrie and Arleah Shectman, psychotherapists who specialize in bereavement counseling, purposefully use empowering language when helping people through a trauma. Morrie says he never talks "sympathetically" with his patients because it's disempowering and keeps patients coddled in victim mode. "Too much 'sympathy talk' can keep patients stuck, reliving and examining their feelings rather than moving on," Morrie says.
Here's how neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) can help you