September 14, 2020

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Words matter | The power to make or break you

Words matter. Has someone ever said something to you that bent you out of shape? Meanwhile , they would wonder why you would easily get offended on something that is just casually said. It may be a boneless bunch of words said in a matter of seconds but to the person you are talking to, it could already be a time bomb ticking till the person explodes into exasperation.


Awfully , we all learn very early on that a human being can break you in a few short ,simple words – Beau Taplin

Civility should be evident on how the person acts and speaks with the sole purpose of avoiding infliction of emotional pain to others. This may be defied by saying “It is a matter of interpretation”. But to the person who overthinks, to the person who is trying to fight a battle alone, to the person trying to figure out something from the vague canvas of uncertainty, what would you make out of him after hearing those words? Depression has no face and that alone should suffice that lack of courtesy is beyond bearing.

Depression: Facts, Statistics, and You

The following are the unknowingly common worst things we say :

1. I am DISAPPOINTED in you.

This is a two-edged statement. It may cut you or empower you, depending on how emotionally stable the person is. For the person expressing this kind of dismay , he was hurt because his expectations fail and nothing is wrong with that. It is a typical behavior which is a result from a stimulus.

Now, let’s view things from the lens of the person receiving this comment. Is this an invitation for a challenge meant to escalate areas of any shortcomings? Well , that is definitely a desirable trait , to see things in their positive angle. But , in the physiological aspect, “Cortisol” , a chemical in your brain, is responsible for spurring negative thoughts. Thus , the statement “I am DISAPPOINTED in you”, would most likely be viewed as a negative message giving off a negative emotion.This experience would retain in your brain to act as a defense mechanism to any threat that would resemble with that one.

Best I Will Not Disappoint You GIFs | Gfycat

To the person receiving this criticism , he would probably question himself as to why things didn’t end well as he also expected. He may question the effort of pushing himself to the edge just to get things done, the effort to put aside the things which he thinks are way more important and the effort to put personal issues behind. And yet in a snap, all were trashed with “I am DISAPPOINTED in you” . There are other words that won’t devalue the feelings of others. We call these words positive motivation. Instead of literally expressing discontentment of someone’s work , you can say “ That is good but I think you can do better than that.” Then you can suggest some ideas to help him. You can encourage him to become more creative .With that, you are helping him to grow by instilling positivity and not by cutting him deep and letting him learn the lesson after he bleeds out.

This kind of reinforcement can be linked with the “Pygmalion Effect” by Robert Rosenthal which he defined as” the phenomenon whereby one person’s expectation for another person’s behavior comes to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy”(American Psychologist, Nov.2003,p.839)

Rosenthal said that “ When we expect certain behaviors of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behavior more likely to occur”. An example evaluative situation is the management behavior in the workplace , frequent recognition from the boss subsequently alters the performance of the staff because they will become motivated.

On the contrary, a continuous criticism would likely to pull down the quality of work. If you want to see someone to become what they can become, set your objective to be morally aligned . Constructive criticism doesn’t need to sound like reprobation.

How to Give Constructive Criticism to Your Sales Team | Sandler Training

2. You got HURT for such a SMALL REASON?

Invalidation – is the denial , rejection and dismissal of someone’s feelings. You are trying to assess that how they feel is unacceptable, inaccurate and totally insignificant. How painful is that? This emotional abuse is done knowingly by some as a form of manipulation, control and psychological injury. This may be due to inadequate compassion and a surface level of empathy.

You are just overreacting “ , “ You are just too sensitive” , “ Others had it a lot worse” , these words that we say embellishes hypocrisy into words of concern . They are hurt . They are in pain and no one has the power to dictate or judge how you feel. You are not in their shoes. You have never seen life through their eyes. If the person feels pain over trivial things then it is painful . They feel it and it is real. No law was made that says “ Thou shall not get hurt from petty reasons” .

Best Overreact GIFs | Gfycat

Human sensitivity varies from person to person. You may have it in high tolerance but others can possibly be a cry baby over a small scratch. NEVER invalidate the subjective emotional experience of the person . Chances are, you will leave them wondering in the pits of confusion and self-doubt.

Others would say, they invalidate to make the person feel better or differently as to what they perceive as an accurate and significant one. Regardless of the validity of those statements, those who are in pain just wanted to be understood , found and empathized.

To anyone whose feelings were marginalized, read this : “IF YOU ARE HURT , YOU ARE HURT. IT IS REAL . IT IS VALID . NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT . F**K TO ANYONE THAT SAYS YOU ARE CRAZY!”

Sometimes I'm Not Angry, I'm Hurt - Tiny Buddha

3. Why can’t you be more like ……?

Comparison will never be a means of motivation. Sure enough, a manager in a workplace wants his team to be at their best performance but comparing one employee whom he thinks is falling behind to the employee standing out , you are without hesitation unrecognizing his contributions. How bad is that ? As a manager , you leveraged every individual in your team by focusing on nurturing his strengths rather than his weakness. As to what Einstein said

Everyone is a genius. But if you judged a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein

In psychology, comparing yourself to others is coined as “ upward comparison” . This means we perceive others as someone better off than ourselves. Thus, as a natural response we feel insecure which creates the feeling of inferiority. To overthinkers, commonly they would ask “ Why is he better than me?”, and “What is wrong with me?” . And that person stuck in the haze of comparison would continue trying his best meeting the expectation which in the first place is never intended for him because the expectant has figured out already that it is not his cup of tea . Is there something wrong with that? Definitely , nothing is wrong with that. No one will stop you if you want to try out something countless of times. But if you get tired from trying and still it didn’t come out good. NEVER blame yourself for being incompetent. You are just not aware enough of what you do best and what is out of your league.

Albert Einstein quote: Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish...

On the contrary, there is also what we called as “downward comparison” , which is comparing ourselves to those worse off . This makes us feel superior. For others that tends to compare two individuals, for belittling the other person to put to shine the person you are in favor of, for purposely forcing the person to try to fit in a box, for thinking that you are doing a favor for such act —- Seriously, you are not doing a good job. You know how it feels to be compared to, don’t let others experience it.

The Power of the WORDS YOU CHOOSE; What You Say to Yourself Impacts Your  Results – Authentic Leader

Choose what to say , don’t let others get cut from unmindful words.


This blog is written by Teacher Cyl. She has been teaching English for over 3 years. Let’s take a look at her Introductory Videos below.

Teacher Cyl’s Introduction Video


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