Again, Limiting Language Patterns, LLP, is a way of speaking about ourselves, others, and the world that by its very nature limits what is possible either through negativity or confusion, or both. It can fragment us, deluding our power of manifestation and our ability to take responsibility for our own lives. It also limits others and the world around us, for it prevents us from perceiving people and the world around us accurately. Ultimately, it keeps us stuck and unable to intentionally author the lives we truly want.
Power Language, PL, on the other hand, is a direct, clear, and concise way of speaking that tells our brain exactly what it is we mean as succinctly as possible. It is either positive or neutral. When we use power language, we have a palpable, direct connection with the words we use, which powerfully assists us to create the reality we truly want.
Consider using "you" when "I" is meant
- “You know when you are feeling sad…”
- “When you are angry, it's hard to stay focused.”
- “You think it is always going to be one way and then it is not.”
The above are similar examples of what I have heard some clients say. They use the pronoun “you” when they are referring to themselves. This is an LLP because it deludes the individual experience by making it about the other when in fact it is about him/herself. Furthermore, it makes it difficult to access the actual experience directly. To solve my problems, I must experience them as mine.
Consider the first example, “you know when you are feeling sad...” If this client is indeed referring to him/herself then we know the client is experiencing sadness; by using this statement instead of a direct “I” statement, the personal connection, access, and accountability to the sad feeling are unavailable to the client. This way of speaking, subtle as it may be, makes it difficult to access the cause of the sad feeling, which could be significant.
To address this LLP with clients, I use Reflective Questioning. First, I listen attentively, and then based on exactly what my client says, I offer a clarifying question. To the above example, I may say, “You just said, ‘When people are sad,’ what exactly do you mean here?” Typically, the client will say, “what I mean is, I am feeling sad.” Then, depending on his/her response, I may ask, “How is that affecting you?” If the client continues to use you instead of I, either I continue to ask a similar question, or I may gently interject and share with them the power of using I when referring to oneself. It depends on the appropriateness and flow of the session. Using “I” statements can be scary at first because it demands ownership of one’s experience and the effects are powerful.
Imagine what communication with friends and partners would be like with this simple adjustment?