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Note to Self: Watch Your Language

Being a mom to an “almost” teenager, I’ve watched as she and her friends are beginning to speak differently… and not just the slang from TikTok™… but the tone of voice, the words they choose, and how they speak to and about one another (and themselves).

As 13 is beginning to peek over the horizon…

OMG! I Sound Like My Mom!

Think back to being a kid again. Were you ever told “watch your mouth”? Or what about this oldie-but-goodie: “If you can’t say something nice…”

(You just completed that phrase, didn’t you.)

It takes zero effort to hear my mom saying, “watch your language.” I was a really good kid (no, seriously, I was!) But, I could get a little (or a lot) sassy at times. Hmm… my 7-year-old might be my karma.

At the time, I thought those words meant to watch my tone and maybe to warn me against using curse words or being mean to someone. It’s probable that is all my mom meant back then.

But you can’t connect the dots moving forward; only when we look back can we see connections we missed. So, when I fell into studying the subconscious mind in 2012, that’s when some of my biggest A-Ha’s began.

Quick…Think of a Cookie!

Really… think of a cookie. Do you have it???

Great… now think of your favorite cookie.

Did the picture change?

Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t. It’s interesting how often we don’t actually picture our favorite of something first. But were you thinking of a chocolate crinkle cookie? Because that’s the picture I see when I think of the word “cookie.”

Thinking in Pictures

So why are cookies so important?

I knew that people with autism thought in pictures. But it was 4 years after I retired from autism intervention that I learned we ALL do.

According to, “word” means “a unit of language… that functions as a principle carrier of meaning.”

We communicate with words every day… in speech, in writing, in person, over the phone, online, or via text. And we assume that what we mean with our words is what we are communicating to the person on the receiving end of that communication. We believe that it’s up to the other person to hold the same meaning of words that we do… and that it’s up to them to know what we meant because we thought we were clear.

But words don’t have absolute meaning. Just as each of us pictured a different cookie, we each bring up a different picture when we hear a word, a phrase, etc.

Words Don’t Describe Our Reality… They Dictate It.

There is no singular “reality.” We each process the data around us through our individual subconscious filters. Memories, past experiences, values, time, location, belief systems, emotions, and language all serve as different filters for which parts of the data we synthesize as our “conscious awareness.” It’s like looking at the world through different pairs of glasses.

Put on glasses that filter the world as “negative,” “unsafe,” or “dangerous” and subconscious will bring the evidence to support that into your awareness. Change out to glasses that say the world is “beautiful,” “safe,” or “healthy” and you will see evidence of that… even though the data of the world didn’t change… just your perception of it.

Imagine it’s 95 degrees outside. Is that too hot and miserable to leave the house or an amazing day to head to the beach?

We have been collecting different filters our entire lives (and even generationally) from our family, our friends, our idols, our trusted authority figures, TV and movies, influencers, etc. Over the past few months, we have been bombarded with new filters regarding what is “safe” and what is “normal,” leaving all things that don’t match to automatically become labeled subconsciously as “not safe” and “not normal.” All new lenses through which we are interacting… and judging. The filters you choose to accept will further shift how you experience each day.

Because we each carry a different combination of glasses, we each have a different version of what we believe reality is. Intelligent, slow-reader, fat, healthy, fearful, skinny, tone-deaf, brave, successful, problem, weird, normal, new normal, sheep, anti-masker… Every label filters your experience and dictates what you will see as “real” in yourself and in others.  

Watch Your Language

It’s not just the labels we use. It’s every word we say. Your words are a window to your subconscious. The words you use tell not only what you think, but HOW you think.

If working out, eating healthy, going to work, etc. is something you “have to” do, your motivation will be different than if it’s something you “get to” do. If you “must” do something vs. “choose” to do that thing, your compliance may be different. If you accept things you disagree with as “normal,” what else might you agree to if it’s called “normal” enough times? If you say something is going to be “hard,” you will increase your subconscious resistance. Spend the next week noticing the words you choose to use. Are there things you can say differently to create a more empowering reality? Notice the words others use. Do they help you see reality through their eyes?

So, while there are times I open my mouth and hear my mom… the words “watch your language” are so much more than she thought. I’m not only shifting the tone my daughter takes or telling her to not use a “bad” word… I’m teaching her to shift her language to using words that help her create the beautiful reality she deserves to experience. And the best part? Her friends are listening.

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