Yoda: Jedi Master of Language
“Do or do not do…there is no try.” Yoda understood that words have power. How we say something is as important as what we think we are saying. He also understood how to talk in reverse and still be understood. That’s what makes him a Jedi master. So with our Star Wars references fully in place, we welcome you to Thursday’s language talk on CoupleDumb.
Paul says: As you know, Lee and I do not fight nor are we overly critical of one another. One place where we do consistently correct each other is with our use of language. We believe that words have power. Because of this, we are always alert for the way we say something (what we call languaging) that would be detrimental to our overall wellbeing.
In our world we have been immersed in phrases and sayings that, when you really stop and consider them, are terrifying and injurious. Let’s take the saying ‘my back is killing me’. Is it really? Is it actually hastening you to your final double mocha frappachino with the Grim Reaper?
So I say ‘my back is killing me’ to my wife who casually corrects my languaging with a ‘your back hurts. It is not killing you’. The same sentence with the subject changed illicit a very different reaction. ‘This axe murderer is killing me’ will not get Lee to say ‘the axe murderer is not killing you. The axe murderer is hurting you’. When I talk about an axe murderer, I am trying to get a reaction. Generally, in that scenario, a shotgun and police presence would be appropriate. So why would I give the same emphasis to back pain that I would give to a homicidal maniac? Because I want a reaction. I want to be elevated to the status of the almost dead with all of the benefits. Somewhere in my subconscious, I want the sympathy, the attrition, and the tearful sobs without having to pay the price of illness. Unfortunately, that same part of the subconscious has a wonderful sense of justice. We do not get to act ill without being ill.
Words have power. If you do not believe me then walk into your local airport and yell ‘bomb’ at the top of your lungs. After you are done with your colon search, drop me an email and let me know what you thought. Now to take all of this heady philosophy and boil it down to one important statement: I tell Lee that I love her every day and generally several times a day. This is not just me showing how romantic I am but if you would like to swoon, feel free. I tell her that I love her for a couple of reasons; firstly, because I do love her and, secondly, because it starts a cascade of actions that are good for both of us.
No matter what psychological model you use, hearing that you are loved is a good thing. When I tell Lee that I love her, or she says it to me, brain chemicals are released and the happy parts light up, we nurture our inner children, we are conditioned to continue to be loveable, and we hold our shadows at bay.
We are all wizards and our words are magic. We can create and destroy with the incantations that we cast. OK, that last part was just for me.
Lee says: After all these weeks and months writing, I wonder how many of our readers know that I have fibromyalgia? I would imagine there is a handful who knows only because you know me personally. I don’t talk about it. I don’t acknowledge it. I give it no power over me. Years ago, my life was completely about my fibro and pain and ouchies and oh God how uncomfortable I am. In the beginning my language was completely pain focused. I was dying. It was killing me. I can’t stand it. When I changed my language, my pain became manageable. When I completely ignored it, the pain became an extra in the movie of my life. It was no longer the antagonist.
So please don’t tell me your shoes are killing you or you are dying of thirst/hunger unless you really mean it. I’m serious, those shoes better have you in a choke hold or slowly poisoning you with some undetectable chemical compound that leaches through the soles of your heels.